MADISON, NJ: Barr Laboratories has appointed Communications Strategies (CSI) to handle launch and post-launch PR responsibilities for Seasonale Extended-Cycle, a new oral contraceptive designed to reduce the frequency of women's periods from 13 to four per year.
Donna Pepe, president of the agency, said she plans to position Seasonale as "more than an oral contraceptive. The original oral contraceptives granted women one level of freedom, but this takes things beyond birth control, and puts them in charge of their menstrual cycles," she explained.
She added, "This is a paradigm shift for women that is very empowering."
To combat popular misconceptions about the health risks associated with reducing the frequency of periods, the majority of CSI's efforts, according to Pepe, will focus on education. Physicians already using the product, in addition to OB-GYN and family-practice thought leaders, will be used as spokespeople. The agency will also be managing a website, knowyourperiods.com, where women can learn about how extended-cycle oral contraceptives work.
Opposed to strictly product-focused messages, Pepe clarified that her agency's efforts would be more about communicating "the whole concept of fewer periods."
Journalists, in addition to female consumers, will be the most heavily targeted audiences for the education initiatives on Seasonale's behalf.
"Even many of the reporters who normally cover women's health are not aware of how birth control works in this way," Pepe explained.
She added that Barr is anticipating a "late-summer approval" for Seasonale, which is currently being reviewed by the FDA. Once approved, the product will be marketed by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, the proprietary division of Barr Laboratories.
Traditionally known as a generic pharmaceutical company, Barr has also been working with CSI on a corporate branding campaign designed to facilitate the company's emergence into the brand-name drug arena.