Pharma company debuts film about rare disease

EXTON, PA: Pharmaceutical company ViroPharma has released a film called Swell, which chronicles the trials of having a rare disease, including genetic malady hereditary angioedema.

EXTON, PA: Pharmaceutical company ViroPharma has released a film called Swell, which chronicles the trials of having a rare disease, including genetic malady hereditary angioedema.

Kristina Broadbelt, a spokeswoman for the company, said the goal was to roll out a product that stood out from typical informational pharma videos.

“We didn't want to do a boring patient video. We wanted a film that could stand on its own,” said Broadbelt. “We wanted to bring a different perspective, not a pharmaceutical company perspective.”

ViroPharma hired the documentary film company Woodshop Films in Philadelphia to make Swell; its filmmaker was Marc Brodzik.

ViroPharma did not use Weisscom Global, its AOR, for the effort, rather it handled the outreach in-house. Broadbelt declined to give the cost of the project, but said the company saved money by using digital platforms to promote the 25-minute film. The film has its own website, lives also on a microsite, and will have a YouTube channel soon. The filmmakers are also looking to submit it to various film festivals.

The potentially fatal hereditary angioedema causes swelling of the body. ViroPharma, which makes a drug to treat the illness, reported $439 million in revenue in 2010.

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