GOAL: Execute a statewide public relations effort to promote Hoffmann-La Roche‘s newestdrug products, Tamiflu and Fuzeon. The news markets chosen by the client include Jacksonville,Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Miami.
CHALLENGE: Although news organizations have increased their coverage of healthcare issuesover the past decade, the innate skepticism of reporters against the pharmaceutical businessand specific products has created a layer of difficulty in attracting a reporter’s interest.
TACTICS: Generating news coverage required a blend of traditional public relations tactics anda particularly high level of creative thinking and persistence in achieving story placement.
• In the case of Tamiflu, our strategy was to focus interest on the flu virus itself, ultimately steer-
ing reporters around to treatment as a critical component to the story. Through the use ofnews releases and telephone contacts, account executives focused on the television newsmarket by interesting reporters in tracking the flu as it traveled through the state of Florida,stressing the disease’s proximity to our targeted news markets. Additionally, we aggressivelyemphasized the significance to patients of immediate disease tracking as a means of quickerdiagnoses, followed by effective treatment with Tamiflu.
Florida-based physicians who prescribe Tamiflu were used for both print and on-camera interviews with news reporters, lending significant credibility and newsworthiness to the story. Television news stories showed physicians in front of their computers surfing the Hoffmann-LaRoche website and explaining the flu tracking system and how patients benefit from their doctors having quick access to the flu’s whereabouts. Each physician interviewed spoke of theimportance of early diagnosis and the need for immediate treatment with Tamiflu, thus,accomplishing the client’s objective.
• Wragg & Casas launched a two-tiered public relations plan in these same markets to seek
coverage on Fuzeon after it received FDA approval. Our intent was to stress the importance ofthe drug becoming available to the public, and the desperate need for a medication devel-oped specifically for HIV/AIDS patients who have exhausted all other known AIDS treatments.
We experienced good media reception by presenting Fuzeon as the first AIDS treatmentbreakthrough in seven years, a fact that was bolstered by an unusual expedited approvaldecree from the FDA. Armed with a strong story line, we began a vigorous telephone campaign and garnered news coverage in mainstream publications as well as some dedicatedto audiences with professional and personal interests in HIV and AIDS issues, treatments andprogress.
• In the second tier of the Fuzeon plan, we have now advanced to pitching a human angle by
offering interviews with Fuzeon physicians and the patients who participated in the drug trialsand remain on the treatments and with positive results. The story is being well receivedbecause of the interest in patients finding hope.
RESULTS: Wragg & Casas has attracted significant news media attention from the five targetednews markets for Tamiflu and Fuzeon.
TAMFLU• WFLX-FOX – Palm Beach• WTVJ – NBC – Miami• Bay 9 News – Tampa/St. Petersburg• CFN13 - Orlando• FOX 35 News – Orlando• WESH – Channel 2 - Orlando• The Senior Observer Newspaper – Winter Park• Daytona Times – Daytona Beach, Florida
FUZEON• Tallahassee Democrat• Tampa Tribune• St. Petersburg Times• Daytona Beach News Journal• Florida Times Union• Florida Today
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