Cephalon engages pharmacists to tout safe use of pain medications

As a biopharmaceutical company, Cephalon markets opioid medications, such as Provigil and Actiq, which are generally prescribed for pain.

Client Cephalon (Frazer, PA)

PR agency Vox Medica (Philadelphia)

Campaign "When good medicines become bad drugs" expanded

Duration June-ongoing

Budget Between $200,000-$300,000

As a biopharmaceutical company, Cephalon markets opioid medications, such as Actiq and Fentora, which are generally prescribed for pain.

Though it launched its CSR initiative, "When good medicines become bad drugs," as a webcast in 2008, Cephalon saw a need to build out the effort and target pharmacists, who are vital to educating patients about their medications, says Jenifer Antonacci, associate director of product communications at the company.

"Cephalon recognizes we have a corporate responsibility to ensure our prescription medications are used safely," she adds.

Strategy

Vox Medica, which has worked on the effort since 2008, helped Cephalon form partnerships with the American Chronic Pain Association and the American Pharmacists Association.

The trade groups provided insight for the in-store materials that were created for pharmacists to provide to patients, says Lauren Curren, client solutions manager for Vox Medica.

Tactics

Along with developing in-store materials, the agency updated the campaign website with new information and expert tips. "There was an opportunity to engage pharmacists and provide them simple, user-friendly resources," Antonacci says.

Cephalon reached out to pharmacy trades and local Philadelphia news outlets. It also planned a follow-up survey about the campaign in October.

Results

Media coverage included stories in Drug Store News, Practical Pain Management, PainPathways, and the Philadelphia Business Journal.

More than 2,800 pharmacists received information, including in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee - states with a high number of reported incidents of prescription drug misuse, notes Curren. More than 50 pharmacists have requested materials on the campaign website.

Future

"When good medicines become bad drugs" is an ongoing campaign for Cephalon. Going forward, says Antonacci, the company might look to target new audiences.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Vox Medica's location and examples of Cephalon's opioid medications. Vox Medica is based in Philadelphia and Cephalon markets opioid medications like Actiq and Fentora. We regret the errors. 

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