J&J MSD plots comms launch for Zocor OTC shift

Johnson & Johnson MSD is preparing for the UK’s biggest selling drug Zocor’s move from prescription to over-the-counter status with an education programme for pharmacists and a media relations push.

Chime’s health marketing agency Ozone, which launched in December, will co-ordinate a proactive media relations approach for what Ozone MD Paul Jarman said ‘will be the biggest thing in pharmacy in years’.

Ozone will contribute to training material for pharmacists to explain their role in properly recommending the cholesterol-lowering drug and identifying high-risk cases for referral to doctors. It will also target trade titles such as Pharmaceutical Journal and Pharmacy Magazine.

Jarman said the media relations campaign will be proactive despite the fact he expects a lot of interest from mainstream media.

Communication will focus on the safety and suitability of the product for over-the-counter sales and explaining the medical model put in place.

It will position Zocor’s increased availability as a positive step as consumers take responsibility for their own health.

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