It is estimated that one in ten people suffer from migraine, creating a potentially huge market for pharma firms making migraine treatments.
AstraZeneca was not the first company to bring the latest migraine treatments (known as triptans) to market, but has led the way in developing an effective product - Zomig - in a variety of different formulations. Already available in classic tablets and Rapimelt fast-dissolving orange-flavour tablets, in October AstraZeneca asked its retained international agency, CPR Worldwide, to launch the nasal spray version of Zomig in Europe, focusing primarily on the UK and Austria.
To ensure maximum awareness of the new formulation of the prescription-only drug among neurologists, GPs and patients.
In a crowded market, the PR team was also keen to highlight the key message that Zomig Nasal Spray delivers fast-acting relief.
Strategy and Plan
The launch campaign centred on grabbing the attention of the world's leading migraine experts, and the media, at Europe's leading neurology congress, the European Federation of Neurological Sciences (EFNS), in Vienna.
From 26 to 30 October, congress delegates were met by a 30ft tall inflatable nasal spray in Zomig brand colours, and invited to visit the AstraZeneca-sponsored Migraine-Free World, an interactive exhibition. Here, participants could get information on triptans while trying out massage chairs and gaining tips on avoiding migraine trigger foods.
On 29 October, an international media briefing was held in the Migraine-Free World and extended to journalists across Europe, via a webcast hosted on AstraZeneca's migrainemediacentre.com website. This highlighted the latest data on migraines and Zomig nasal spray, presented by a panel of migraine experts.
Measurement and Evaluation
The BBC Online and Reuters Health websites covered the story in detail and the Daily Mail made a front page mention and devoted a full page article to the nasal spray.
There was also significant interest from the Austrian national media and UK medical press, including Pharmafocus and Doctor magazine.
An independent onsite survey by Time Research reported that AstraZeneca was one of the companies achieving the highest impact at EFNS.
Almost 90 per cent of delegates visited the Migraine-Free World and 77 per cent of those rated it highly.
It is too early to measure the success of the launch in terms of sales.