GSK's Big Bad Cough multimedia campaign focuses on a grandma putting her baby grandchild in range of catching whooping cough from her: "Understand the Danger Your New Grandchild Faces." The print ad shown here appeared in a recent Parade magazine insert in my Sunday paper. You can also view the TV Ad here)if it still available online.
According to GSK's PR/marketing earned media machine: "Adults have historically low vaccination rates. For Tdap, the combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine for grown-ups, only 17% of adults over age 19 are up-to-date, according to recent CDC data. GSK said grandparent vaccination rates are even lower, coming in at below 10%. Adults are the most common carriers or "spreaders" of pertussis to infants, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases" (see here).
The takeaway message is that grandparents are that danger. But, there's something you should know.
According to data compiled by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the pharmaceutical industry has increased its financial support of CME in 2014 compared to 2013. This is the first time in seven years that Pharma's support has increased.
In the chart below, I plotted the Growth vs. Decline of Pharma CME Support from 1999 through 2014. I include monies paid for advertising and exhibits at CME events and assume 100% of this activity comes from manufacturers (drugs and devices). Based on this, the drug and device industry support for CME has increased by about 3% in 2014 vs. 2013 ($1.031 Bn vs. $1.00 Bn).
Click on image for an enlarged view.
Even though the data suggest that pharma's support of CME took a nose dive from 2008 through 2012, CME income from "other" sources took up the slack and then some beginning around 2010-2011. Total CME income increased 13.6% from 2011 through 2014, whereas drug industry support dropped about 3% during that time.
Where did this extra money from "other" sources come from?
In May, 2015, FDA's OPDP sent an Notice of Violation letter to Actavis regarding the "Unsubstantiated Claim" on the Rapaflo webpage, which stated “BPH SYMPTOM RELIEF THAT WORKS NIGHTS SO HE CAN WORK DAYS.”
Since then, Actavis adopted a walnut look-alike prostate gland mascot. That's him in the accompanying image.
I call him "Wally" because he looks just like a walnut, which I suspect was the model the computer graphic artist used to create Wally. It even includes a little walnut-like point at the top of his head, which may not be medically accurate.
The original Rapaflo website, which the FDA criticized, showed a man walking to the bathroom from his bed in the middle of the night. Now the site features a guy at a urinal confronted by Wally standing on the urinal divider. Although Wally is not looking down at the guy's junk, he is all in the guy's face, saying "These frequent disruptions are frustrating. I'm your prostate - I know urinary issues when I see them!"
If I were that guy I would say, "Yeah? Well, you're not my prostate! I know walnuts when I see them! Get lost!" I mean, who wants to talk to a Debbie Downer walnut while urinating in a public urinal?
There seems to be a proliferation of drug mascots these days reminiscent of ten years ago or so when drug TV and print ads were full of them (read "DTC Critters to Strike - Cite New Media Residuals as Issue," for example). I know of at least one other mascot associated with urinary function.