Some projects give Baird’s CMC the opportunity to bring together our deep pharma expertise and our long-standing experience in advocacy and strategic planning. A few years ago, we worked on one such engagement: A global pharmaceutical company wanted to build awareness of the need for vitamin D supplementation in patients receiving treatment for osteoporosis, to support the launch of a new vitamin D combination drug.
Baird’s CMC collaborated with its partner company, Hyderus, to address the low awareness amongst physicians, patients, and the media about widespread levels of inadequate vitamin D intake in the elderly population, its contribution to the risk of falls and fractures, and its role in successful treatment of osteoporosis.
We worked with the client, its European operating companies, and a leading Irish medical school to develop a multi-stakeholder platform – greatly assisted by our European health and pharma network. “The platform brought together about 55 leading clinicians, patient groups, advocates for senior citizens, and journalists from all across Europe. They debated the issues around vitamin D insufficiency in people with osteoporosis,” explains James Snodgrass, associate at Baird’s CMC.
By working closely with the multi-stakeholder platform, Baird’s CMC and Hyderus were able to achieve a “Call to Action”. All the stakeholders endorsed a strongly-worded Call to Action on the increased need for vitamin D intake in people with osteoporosis. The declaration was published in a peer-reviewed journal. “We also created a sustainable and credible news platform to gain media interest in vitamin D and osteoporosis-related stories,” says James. This required close collaboration with the client’s operating companies and media training of relevant spokespeople. There was extensive pan-European coverage of the stakeholder platform’s outputs.
“This event helped demonstrate the client’s commitment to increasing patient and clinician understanding of vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis,” says James. The client’s European operating companies adapted and integrated the stakeholder platform’s outputs across the marketing mix (promotion, publication, medical education, etc.) to provide support for vitamin D messages. The endorsement of the Call to Action by all the stakeholders was leveraged locally for medical education and country-level policy and advocacy initiatives.
A post-event analysis by the client’s sales force indicated increased physician awareness of vitamin D supplementation in osteoporosis. Supported by other positive coverage, sales of vitamin D supplements in the UK rose from US$ 5.8 million to US$ 7.7 million over the next three years. “The event was considered such a success that the team was invited to repeat it in the Asia-Pacific region the next year,” remarks James with a smile.