Centocor targets the RA community with online talk show

HORSHAM, PA: Centocor Ortho Biotech launched an online talk show about rheumatoid arthritis (RA), allowing the company to participate in an already active online dialogue with the RA community and its bloggers.

HORSHAM, PA: Centocor Ortho Biotech launched an online talk show about rheumatoid arthritis (RA), allowing the company to participate in an already active online dialogue with the RA community and its bloggers.

The “New Way RA” talk show, and its accompanying Web site, brought in experts to discuss topics like nutrition and diet, dating and relationships, and career advice for people who have RA, said Brian Kenney, senior director of corporate communications for the Horsham, PA-based pharmaceutical company.

Centocor markets Remicade, a drug it developed to treat autoimmune diseases like RA, and Simponi, which also treats RA, active psoriatic arthritis, and active ankylosing spondylitis.

“Our intent is to develop a platform that not only raises awareness about rheumatoid arthritis but also, like I said, delivers information based on what we're hearing from the RA community in these topic areas,” Kenney added.

Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced the talk show July 29 on the JNJ BTW blog, noting that the RA blogging community has provided real life perspectives about how people with RA deal with their disease on a daily basis.

It also posted a clip from the talk show to Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube.

“There's an eagerness in the community for more exposure,” said Sara Nash, a blogger who started The Single Gal's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis in June 2008. “…I also think that there's so little information out there that any kind of information, any sort of new platforms that's really talking about RA and any other autoimmune forms of arthritis, is at least a step in the right direction.”

Although the Web site does not allow comments, Kenney noted that JNJ BTW and the YouTube channel have received commentary about New Way RA and that Centocor may consider opening a community in the future.

“There's definitely an opportunity to build a community and there is certainly a community that's out there among the RA bloggers,” he noted. “I would say it's probably one of the more active communities that we've seen.”

The company is reaching out to RA bloggers with news about the talk show, as well as mainstream and trade press, said Kenney. Dorland Global is providing support for the program.

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