Healthcare: On the Agenda - Blood drug could aid heart patients

In a nutshell

Bayer Healthcare has published clinical data supporting the potential benefits of its new blood thinning drug Rivaroxaban. The drug could help hundreds of thousands of heart patients who are at risk of blood clots and strokes from irregular heartbeats. Rivaroxaban could replace warfarin - the drug currently used for blood thinning - after a trial showed it had fewer side effects, simplified dosing and higher tolerance.

Who is affected?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder and affects up to six million people in Europe. In patients with AF, an irregular heartbeat makes them vulnerable to the formation of a blood clot in the atria. One-third of AF sufferers will experience a stroke.

What does it mean?

Bayer Healthcare - which developed the anticoagulant drug alongside Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical - trialled more than 14,000 patients, comparing once-daily Rivaroxaban to dose-adjusted warfarin. The effectiveness of Rivaroxaban was far superior to warfarin, delivering a 21 per cent risk reduction in strokes. The drug also offers simplified dosing.

PR strategy

Bayer Healthcare charged Athena Medical with handling the UK media outreach for the drug.

Coverage

The drug received extensive coverage globally. In the UK, highlights included a three-minute clip on BBC Breakfast, page 13 of the Daily Mail and page 19 of the Daily Mirror.

21% reduced risk of strokes when using Rivaroxaban compared with warfarin

6m people in Europe affected by atrial fibrillation

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