|Covid-19 has raised a major societal issue on health disparities in America. In many diseases, minority populations suffer more and get less treatment. This is not a new finding, but Covid-19 along with the Black Lives Matter protests on discrimination have given rise to new possibilities of addressing health disparities.
Is this the time that health disparities will be taken on? Most drug companies have some efforts related to minorities. The reality, however, is that DTC budgets do not usually allocate significant spending towards these communities. This is interesting given that traditional DTC efforts under reach these audiences, and most minority groups over index in digital, social, and mobile. I expect that will change as big Pharma realizes they are missing an opportunity to contribute to the disparities solution. It will be good business to devote more resources to minority health. A Biden victory would add to the impetus to deal with health disparities through both disease education and special branded efforts towards minority communities.
As I searched for those doing minority efforts now, I was impressed by a campaign on Multiple Myeloma done by Amgen. This digital campaign targets African-Americans with unique creative. Amgen has a drug, Kyprolis, and decided to do a separate education effort to African-American patients leveraging both disease education and branded content. This is not just showing African-Americans as part of a general vignette ad. Instead they created, along with their agency EMCAY, a dedicated branded campaign to address key needs of this important segment. The site www.multiplemyelomaitson.com is rich in African-American focused content and a dedicated place for consumers to share their stories. They also use quotes around the photos of patients, from leading African-American historical figures and authors to inspire the fight against the disease.
The campaign, “Its On”, highlights the treatments available to fight Multiple Myeloma, which includes Kyprolis. The educational component is excellent as to risk factors, an explanation of how the disease affects blood cells, discussion guides with your doctor, and patient trackers for labs and doctor visits. The “It’s On” theme covers patient (It’s on You) and drug company/caregiver (It’s on Us). Clearly the site was well-developed with relevant language that emphasizes spirituality and community. That is not something you see on general sites.
The need for special outreach is because health discussions within communities can vary greatly by race, ethnicity, and economic status. The clinical journey is at times widely different. African-Americans frequently consume health information differently and have unique health issues, such as higher prevalence of co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension. The site encourages African-Americans to be part of the treatment process and reduce some of the gaps.
The “It’s On” campaign tries to understand and talk to these unique needs. Amgen and EMCAY recognized that special efforts are going to get better results among African-Americans than just assuming the general effort is sufficient.
|Bob Ehrlich, Chairman
DTC Perspectives, Inc.