Monday, 14 May 2012

Cholesterol Levels-Health Connections-High Cholesterol-Corporate Blog-Astrazeneca

AstraZeneca's Timely CRESTOR Branded Blog Post: Did It Violate Its Own Policy?

It's unusual for a pharmaceutical company to mention a product by brand name on its corporate blog. But AstraZeneca (AZ) has done just that on its "AZ Health Connections" corporate blog. The majority of the post "New CDC data shows drop in number of adults with high cholesterol" submitted by Tom Hushen, AZ's External Communications Manager, talks about CRESTOR, AZ's anti-cholesterol drug. The post may have been ghostwritten for "Dr Philip de Vane, Executive Director of Clinical Development at AstraZeneca," whose name appears at the bottom.
After briefly citing the results of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) study (see below) in the first paragraph, Hushen dedicates the most of the remaining 309 words of the 377-word post to CRESTOR as in:
"AstraZeneca applauds this progress and we are proud that when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough, prescription medications like CRESTOR® (rosuvastatin calcium) are able to help patients reach their cholesterol goals. In adults, CRESTOR is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol and to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries."Included in the post is the "fair balance" information required by law:
"CRESTOR is not right for everyone-like people with liver disease or women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. Tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness; feel unusually tired; have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes-these could be signs of rare but serious side effects. See"Although this is not earth-shaking or in violation of any law that I know of, it nevertheless is the FIRST time a pharmaceutical company has promoted a prescription drug on its official corporate blog. It's even more interesting considering the AZ Health Connections "Comment Policy" seems to preclude any comments about specific products:
"We want to make sure AZ Health Connections provides a good experience for all visitors. Therefore, we want to keep the content focused on the specific topics being addressed. Comments that don’t directly relate to AstraZeneca or the topics currently being discussed, or comments or questions about specific products (whether or not AstraZeneca products) or ongoing legal or regulatory matters may not be published or may be removed."Could it be that what's good for the "goose" (AZ) is not good for the "gander" (everyone else)? It seems that AZ has relaxed its comments policy, at least this one time. As proof of this, I submitted the following comment, which AZ published:
"I am one of those U.S. adults with high cholesterol that is having problems controlling it with just diet and exercise, which I don’t even try to do :-). But I am worried about taking powerful medicines such as CRESTOR because of the side effects that you mention."AZ published that comment made by this "gander." It is the only comment published so far, so I have no idea if other people have submitted comments that were NOT published. Maybe Tony Jewell, Senior Director of External Communications at AstraZeneca US, will tell us. NOTE: Jewel received the coveted "Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award" in 2011 (see here).
Note: In a personal email, Jewell said: "This post was reviewed, as are all others that mention medicines or disease states. There have been many on the blog, Twitter and Facebook." Also see his comment to this post.
Why did AZ do this at this time? It seems to be very opportunistic considering that it coincides with the release of CDC data that shows improvement to cholesterol levels for many Americans. Also, Pfizer just announced it is no longer promoting Lipitor (see "Pfizer Throws In the Lipitor Marketing Towel" and "Lipitor R.I.P. Infographic").
Obviously, now is a good time for AZ to ramp up the promotion of CRESTOR, as it is positioned to take over the number one (or virtually ONLY) statin TOP sales spot ( read more..

1 comment:

  1. You should not promote statin drugs. These drugs are harmful to us. I just hope you know the side effects and harmful effects of these drugs to those who used these drug.