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The Saatchi & Saatchi Award for Launch Excellence

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Highly Commended

Dificlir Launch Excellence

by Astellas with support from OPEN Health

Summary of work

When Astellas launched Dificlir (fidaxomicin) in the UK it was the first new antibiotic to come to market for treating Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) for over 50 years.

However, prior to launch Astellas learned that Dificlir was likely to be restricted to use as a last-line treatment. This was due to:

  • A perception that CDI was a “problem solved” in the UK, due to a steady decline in cases in recent years
  • A market that had long been dominated by generics
  • Reluctance of core prescribers to rapidly and widely adopt new antibiotics, for fear of antibiotic resistance emerging.

With these challenges in mind, Astellas coordinated an outstanding, insight-driven launch that managed to position Dificlir as a first-line treatment. This was achieved through a bold brand vision that challenged perceptions of Dificlir held by payers, healthcare professionals and guideline bodies through the targeted delivery of communications championing Dificlir as a cost-effective first-line treatment for CDI.

In the year since launch, Dificlir achieved:

  • Favourable first-line positioning in four key Health Technology Appraisals
  • Inclusion on 55 Trust formularies
  • Sales exceeding initial forecasting expectations by almost double.

Judges comments

This was a highly successful, well co-ordinated, multi-channel campaign. The team delivered an exceptional launch - to double McKinsey’s best case forecast with a branded product in a low awareness and generic-driven market is an outstanding achievement.

Highly commended

Dificlir Launch Excellence - by Astellas with support from OPEN Health


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Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022