BASKING RIDGE, NJ: Mylan Specialty LP, a subsidiary of pharma giant Mylan, has launched a public awareness initiative called “Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis” to increase awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions.
Healthcare specialist firm Chandler Chicco Agency is aiding the effort. The agency began working with Mylan last year.
A central component of the campaign involves Modern Family actress Julie Bowen, who is bringing some emotional weight to the effort by sharing her family's experience with life-threatening allergies.
In promotional materials for the campaign, she shared a harrowing incident in which her son experienced a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Until then, she was unaware her child had allergies.
“It was a wake-up call that anaphylaxis can occur anywhere and at any time, even when you may not think your child is at risk,” Bowen said in a statement.
One in 13 children in the US suffers from a food allergy, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency has also found that the number of incidents of life-threatening allergic reactions increased 18% from 1997 to 2007. Up to 1,500 deaths each year are caused by life-threatening reactions.
Mylan's goal is to help school communities be more aware of and better prepared to respond to dangerous allergic reactions, said Nina Devlin, VP of global communications at Mylan.
Because of the unpredictable nature of anaphylaxis, “it is important that everyone responsible for the care of children is aware if a child needs to avoid certain allergic triggers, able to recognize anaphylaxis signs and symptoms, and understands how to quickly get appropriate treatment and immediate medical care if anaphylaxis occurs,” Devlin said.
To promote the effort, Mylan has launched a microsite with a video starring Bowen as well as educational materials. It is encouraging students of all ages to visit it and submit an essay with an idea to help their school better support students who may be at risk of life-threatening reactions. Fifteen will be eligible for a $2,000 college scholarship.
The company is also promoting the effort with events, media outreach, and social media, including the @Anaphylaxis101 Twitter handle.