Monday, May 28, 2007

INNERSTATE: Is it DTC Advertising?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
'Round the Sphere: Moore (sic) Movies
INNERSTATE: Is it DTC Advertising?
SiCKO wasn't the only movie on pharma bloggers's minds this week. Centocor's 58-minute disease awareness documentary INNERSTATE was also a hot topic in the Sphere.
After finally seeing the movie, Pharm Aid was enthusiastic about it:

"Johnson & Johnson has a long history these kind of broader issues-based campaigns. Since the J&J product, Remicade, is never mentioned in the film and no treatment option is pushed (contrary to Avorn’s comments that this is a “commercial”), it’s not clear if J&J is thinking of InnerState as an issues campaign or if this is more traditional product push."
Unfortunately, as I pointed out on Pharma Marketing Blog and as Ed Silverman pointed out on Pharmalot, INNERSTATE may actually be a commercial. True, the movie itself never mentions Remicade (Centocor's product), but, according to evidence submitted to me by SEIU Local 32BJ, Remicade product information -- a medication guide -- was distributed at a showing of the movie in the King of Prussia Mall in PA in April. I also received the INNERSTATE DVD in the mail containing this product information along with the movie. IMHO, this makes the entire campaign a DTC promotion rather than an unbranded disease awareness campaign, which is how it has been generally described in the press and on other blogs.
Of course, SEIU Local 32BJ has a bone to pick with J&J and has sent letters to FDA and PhRMA claiming that Centocor is in violation of FDA regulations and PhRMA DTC guidelines. However, as I explained to the union's representative, I do not believe Centocor is in violation because it included all the necessary fair balance information.
Anyway, you can find all sides of the story here, including a lengthy statement from Michael Parks, Centocor's Director of Public Relations, and Executive Producer of INNERSTATE. This level of engagement with bloggers is unprecedented and earns Centocor kudos from me.
buzz this