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Acting on allergies

Medical communications: communicating the role of highly selective antihistamines in the management of persistent allergies

Today's allergies are complex and persistent, often lasting all year round and needing more than just tissues to keep them at bay. Pollution, travel, migration, imported products and modern lifestyles have all contributed to the changing nature of allergic diseases. For some allergy patients, continuous, rather than on demand, treatment with the latest generation (H1) antihistamines is required to effectively control today's allergies.

This international campaign told the story of today's allergies in new and compelling ways, and used clinical data to communicate to HCPs the role of effective, highly selective antihistamines in the management of patients with severe and persistent allergic diseases. Tools were developed to enable HCPs to communicate with growing numbers of patients who did not speak the native language of that country but who were affected by allergic diseases as a result of a change in environment. The activity empowered an evolving team of UCB affiliates to engage with HCPs across 11 markets.

1. Empower allergy global team and affiliates to communicate a compelling, evidence-based story reflecting the changing nature of allergic diseases and the role of latest generation antihistamines in allergy management, by May 2008.
2. Maximise opportunities from European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) congress to communicate the today's allergies story and new data demonstrating the effectiveness of latest generation antihistamines, during summer 2008.
3. Provide HCPs with a non-branded, useful resource that improves doctor-patient consultations on allergic diseases, by May 2008 to demonstrate UCB's commitment to the therapeutic area.


The UCB report on allergies
A report was distributed to affiliates in line with local regulations


Engaged affiliates, engendered support:
• The programme kicked-off with an easy-to-complete, online needs assessment tool to establish specific challenges for the 11 UCB affiliates and customer needs
• The results and implications were discussed in an interactive affiliate forum, where all brand managers and medical directors were brought together at UCB headquarters in Brussels
• Ongoing teleconferences were held with affiliates to provide project updates.

Empowered affiliates to communicate confidently about today's allergies:
• A full literature audit of data relating to allergic diseases and latest generation antihistamines was undertaken with the global medical team to establish a firm evidence base for communication activities
• Aurora developed a proposed communications flow and facilitated an interactive messaging session with the global team to secure consensus on the most powerful evidence-based story
• Aurora ran an interactive workshop with affiliates to discuss the communications flow and refined it based on feedback
• A full message library was developed to support the story flow, and affiliates were provided with 161 referenced statements and accompanying PDFs. 

Increased awareness of EAACI data presentations by harnessing digital media:
• Aurora developed a pre-recorded webcast of the UCB-sponsored symposium at EAACI 2008 that explored today's allergies and new data relating to H1 antihistamines. Affiliates liaised with local HCPs ahead of the webcast to register for participation
• To encourage affiliates to register local HCPs to view the webcast, Aurora ran an internal competition in the four months prior to EAACI
• Affiliate promotion of the webcast was made as easy as possible: globally approved core resources were provided, including online banner advertising, flyers, a news release and traditional mailings. A DVD of the webcast was also provided to affiliates for local translation
• To provide traditional media resources, Aurora worked with the EAACI team to ensure a report of the sponsored symposium featured in the congress newsletter. In addition, a journalist produced a congress report for affiliate market distribution, in line with local regulations.

Helping doctors bridge language barriers:
• Aurora developed a multi-language CD for HCPs to help bridge language barriers and aid the patient consultation process. The CD contained patient leaflets on allergic diseases, asthma and anaphylaxis in 16 languages: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, English, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu
• This resource demonstrated leadership in allergy to HCPs and put patients at the centre of care.  

The campaign was a huge success with a motivated affiliate team driving through the projects in their markets. More than a thousand HCPs registered and watched the webcast. Doctors commented that the translated leaflet resource was hugely innovative and greatly aided consultations. The core messaging resources continue to be used today. The affiliate medical manager in Bulgaria commented: "The today's allergies campaign gave us solid scientific materials to talk to our customers about and has huge potential that we can use further in 2009."

Objective one met:
• Metrics: 73 per cent of markets used the evidence-based story in one or more communication formats.
Objective two met:
• Metrics: 1,139 unique visitors to webcast in four month period; 52,500 HCPs read the congress report.
Objective three met:
• Metrics: 45 per cent of markets utilised translated leaflets CD.


Case study details

Client: UCB
Agency: Aurora
Campaign: Don't turn your nose up at allergic diseases
Timescale: January 2008 to December 2008

18th March 2010


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