Teva places '09 as 'Year of Affordable Healthcare'

WASHINGTON: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA launched its first campaign on February 10 to raise awareness about the economic value of generic drugs as the US prepares for the possibility of healthcare reform in 2009.

WASHINGTON: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA launched its first awareness campaign on February 10 to raise understanding about the economic value of generic drugs as the US prepares for the possibility of healthcare reform in 2009.

“We want to remind Americans, particularly in the current economic climate, of the savings … that generic drugs provide,” said Denise Bradley, senior director of corporate communications, North America, for Teva, by e-mail.

The “Year of Affordable Healthcare” campaign targets legislators, media, and consumers, with the goal to position Teva, one of the largest generic drugmakers in the world, at the forefront of the healthcare debate, said Eric Bovim, CEO of Gibraltar Associates, which is working on the effort.

The generic drug industry is also facing changes because of pending legislation for follow-on biologics. Advocates of follow-on biologics – in a form, generic biotech drugs – believe that Congress will pass an approval pathway this year. Additionally, the Obama Administration has been vocal about affordable drugs and care.

Teva hired the Washington-based firm in April 2008 for public affairs and corporate communications work, Bovim said. The team at Gibraltar is using social media, grassroots events, and traditional media outreach for the year-long campaign.

Bradley noted, by e-mail, that this is one of Teva's largest PR campaigns because 2009 is “a critical year for the future of both healthcare in America and the generic drug industry.”

For the kick-off, Teva introduced a YouTube video about generics (the first of three), a microsite called www.yearofaffordablehealth.com, and a Twitter page, all to coincide with the press roundtable that announced the campaign in Washington.

It also released a poll, conducted by Beneson Strategy Group, that showed that 63% of people surveyed had taken a generic drug, over a name brand version, to reduce spending. Media outreach for the campaign is focusing on healthcare and business press.

In coming months, the company will host regional forums to discuss healthcare reform, including the possibility of a debate in Second Life and the addition of Web games, said Bovim.

Budget was not disclosed. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is based in North Wales, PA.

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