NEW YORK: Johnson & Johnson broke new ground in pharmaceutical outreach last week when Innerstate, a documentary film sponsored by a J&J subsidiary, premiered in New York.
The event kicked off a 14-city tour around the country that the company hopes will help educate patients on diseases treatable with some of its drugs.
The hour-long film, sponsored by J&J's Centocor unit, follows three patients suffering from psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease, all chronic autoimmune diseases. The documentary never mentions J&J by name or any of its products, although its blockbuster drug Remicade is approved to treat all three diseases.
Centocor worked with Dorland Global Public Relations on the new effort, which is intended to give patients information about their diseases and focus on doctor-patient dialogue, said Michael Parks, Centocor's corporate communications VP.
"It's hard to cover some of the things we wanted to in a 30-second ad," he said. "A 60-minute film gives you real estate to explore these [complex] diseases."
In each of the cities on the tour, a screening of the film will be followed with a panel of doctors fielding questions about the diseases. A Web site, www.myinnerstate.com, was launched in conjunction with the film, where sufferers from the diseases or their family members can order a free DVD if the film is not coming to a city near them.
Patients' groups have largely backed the company's efforts.
"From our perspective, what's really important is that we begin to educate people about this disease," said Paula Fasano, director of marketing and communications for the National Psoriasis Foundation. "To have a film that explores the emotional burden of the disease and makes the effort to make it as non-branded as possible, I think [that] is important."