Parkinson's sufferer aids in drug launch

NEW YORK: The fast-acting nature of a new drug for Parkinson's disease made for a dramatic launch when one sufferer of the condition agreed to have his treatment shown live on NBC's Today last week.

NEW YORK: The fast-acting nature of a new drug for Parkinson's disease made for a dramatic launch when one sufferer of the condition agreed to have his treatment shown live on NBC's Today last week.

Richmond, VA-based Carter Ryley Thomas Public Relations coordinated the launch of Apokyn, which received FDA approval last month.

The Bertek Pharmaceuticals drug is the only FDA-approved "rescue treatment" for Parkinson's patients, who go into episodes of muscle rigidity when their standard medications fail.

Last Wednesday, Sheldon Meizlish of Detroit agreed to arrive at the NBC studio in a so-called "off-episode" - a period in which patients might have difficulty moving, talking, and forming facial expressions.

He received an on-air injection at the start of the program, and returned in front of the cameras about 20 minutes later.

"He could walk again," said Brian Ellis, EVP at the agency. "The look in his eyes was dramatically different."

Dr. C. Warren Olanow, chairman of neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, also appeared on the program to discuss the disease.

Meizlish's NBC appearance was part of the "soft launch" of Apokyn, Ellis said. The official launch will come in July, when the FDA gives the go-ahead for Bertek to begin marketing it.

Video of Meizlish and other patients also will be shown on www.apokyn.com.

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