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Professional relations case study: Readdressing perceptions of the hypertension marketplace

Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Europe accounting for more than 4.35m deaths annually. CVD-related diseases cost upwards of €192bn each year. Despite these figures, across five tested countries in Europe, only 30 per cent of treated patients are reaching their recommended blood pressure (BP) target.

Launching SEVIKAR, a new fixed-dose combination hypertension treatment, into a crowded marketplace was the challenge for Daiichi Sankyo Europe and Huntsworth Health. Together, the team set out to reignite the pan-European interest in getting patients to BP goal, devising a campaign that would boldly readdress traditional treatment models and perceptions of the hypertension marketplace.

1. Gain understanding of the challenges physicians face getting patients to BP goal. Remotivate physicians to address these challenges and drive more patients to reach BP goal, in turn reducing some of the financial burden of hypertension-related disease.
2. Build strong relationships with HCPs and create awareness of Daiichi Sankyo's commitment to furthering medical education and improvement of patient care.
3. Position SEVIKAR as a leading treatment option in addressing hypertension. Gain significant market share for SEVIKAR within three months.


The poster for the Sevikar campaign, with a bird of prey landing on a man's arm against a mountain top backdrop
The launch campaign boldly readdressed perceptions of the hypertension marketplace


Creating the need for more effective solutions - A rallying call to action:
Research revealed that many physicians overestimated their success at achieving BP goal, the majority believing that most patients had 'controlled' BP. It became evident that the 'challenge' of obtaining goal was significant, with many settling for 'close to goal.' Daiichi Sankyo set about readdressing this by communicating 'you still need to do more with your hypertensive patients.'

With this need established, the SEVIKAR launch campaign was developed. It oversaw a meeting of eminent scientific leaders and led to endorsement of the 'Challenging Patient' concept: defined as all patients not treated to BP goal (currently the majority of patients across Europe). This concept provided a tangible model facilitating effective communication to physicians that less than 50 per cent of patients are reaching BP targets independent of their comorbidities and the stage of hypertension. This meeting also produced a valuable White Paper and the innovative SHARE (Sharing Hypertension Awareness and Research Europe-wide) programme.

The SHARE programme produced a scientific leader-driven survey and exchange forum to generate and support local data on physicians' perceptions of the hypertension marketplace. Publishing this data allowed local brand teams to understand the visible and latent needs of their customers while positioning Daiichi Sankyo as an organisation dedicated to building fair and transparent relationships with communities.

Differentiating the SEVIKAR brand - SHARE(ing) the knowledge:
In a marketplace with over 100 competing brands, the SEVIKAR team needed to devise a  campaign supported by physician and patient research. Armed with this data, a number of communications strategies were implemented. Internal campaigns ranged from a DVD featuring scientific leader endorsement of the 'Challenging Patient' concept to an online educational resource. External communications engaged medical journalists at an EU level and involved a media road show, a virtual press office and interview opportunities with scientific leaders. From this supportive platform, SEVIKAR was launched.

Alignment of minds and actions:
A strong, innovative product position was established for SEVIKAR that was easily recognised by target physicians and provided breadth of opportunity. The SEVIKAR campaign received more than 150 pieces of media coverage across 10 countries, and the White Paper circulated to the Journal of Hypertension reached nearly 5,000 European hypertension experts.

Following launch, the notion of the 'Challenging Patient' as those not reaching target BP was universally acknowledged and accepted. In comprehensive pan-EU research most target physicians could describe 'Challenging Patients' and today, the concept is a buzzword in the international arena, used extensively by the media.

As an example of the impact achieved; SEVIKAR won 8.4 per cent of Germany's market share within the first three months. Additionally, the SEVIKAR campaign was awarded 'campaign of the month' in France. This is a testament to the quality and strength of the marketing concept.

This campaign proves that success is built not only on a sole focus of selling drugs, but on solving real healthcare issues. More physicians are motivated and more patients will get to BP goal thereby avoiding CVD with society as a whole benefiting.

Dr Andrea Jäger, of Daiichi Sankyo Europe, said: "Overcoming the challenges together, we were able to align all of our European affiliates to a common position and a core concept. This consistency and integrated approach allowed us to successfully launch SEVIKAR in 2009, strengthen professional relations and demonstrate Daiichi Sankyo's ongoing commitment to patient health."


Case study details

Client: Daiichi Sankyo Europe
Agency: Huntsworth Health
Campaign: SEVIKAR: Defining a strong position in a crowded marketplace
Timescale: July 2008 to present

10th June 2010


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