NEW YORK: Pfizer and Aventis Pharma have awarded Ketchum the global PR account for an inhalable form of insulin that is expected to reduce the number of needle injections diabetes patients must endure.
NEW YORK: Pfizer and Aventis Pharma have awarded Ketchum the global
PR account for an inhalable form of insulin that is expected to reduce
the number of needle injections diabetes patients must endure.
While Ketchum global healthcare director David Catlett declined to
disclose billings, the account is likely a lucrative one. All
manufactured inhaled insulin is still in clinical trials and is at least
one year away from being submitted to the FDA for approval, after which
marketing programs can legally begin.
Nevertheless, sales projections have already led to substantial
pre-launch hype. Earlier this month, an SG Cowen market analyst rated
Pfizer as a top stock pick for the next 12 months - in large part
because of the inhaled insulin product, which the analyst said will net
$1.2 billion in revenue in 2004.
Refusing to disclose details of the PR campaign, Catlett allowed only
that ’research and development work’ is being conducted. Vanessa
McGowan, manager of pharmaceutical communications at Pfizer, added, ’We
will be doing active PR when it is approved, but we just haven’t decided
what we’re going to be doing pre-approval.’
McGowan said Ketchum’s past experience in promoting diabetes treatments
was the key to the firm’s selection.
’Ketchum has a great background in diabetes,’ she said. ’We felt that
they were fairly knowledgeable about the current state of the
Diabetes specialist Marian Parrott, VP of clinical affairs at the
American Diabetes Association, said that pharmaceutical companies must
be very cautious about communicating the risks of inhaled insulin,
because it is a first-in-class treatment.
’I’d like to know any side effects and difficulties,’ she said. ’They
should explain any problems for patients with asthma, how they use it,
how soon before meals to take it and the technique for people to inhale
Pfizer and Aventis are currently far out in front of its two main
competitors in getting inhaled insulin to market. Neither Novo Nordisk
Pharmaceuticals and its partner Aradigm nor the combined team of Eli
Lilly, Dura Pharmaceuticals and Spiros are past phase II trials with
their inhaled insulin products.
Spokespeople at Novo and Eli Lilly said that discussing marketing
efforts would be premature. ’We’ll start doing PR after phase III and
beyond,’ said Kindra Antey, a communications associate at Eli Lilly.