Bristol-Myers Squibb launched its first ever non-English-language TV campaign in the US with ads in Mandarin aimed at raising awareness of chronic hepatitis B—a disease that disproportionately affects the Chinese community.
The campaign features two chronic hepatitis B patients in 60-second television segments with an educational message about the importance of seeking appropriate care. The segments encourage people to start a dialogue with their healthcare provider about the disease. In addition, the campaign will be extended to reach additional Asian-American audiences in 2009.
BMS makes Baraclude for the treatment of hepatitis B and has numerous products in development for the disease.
Jeff Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) said that his organization commends BMS for this new initiative. Caballero added that he believed that it will have a positive impact among those most at-risk for this serious disease. Caballero said that AAPCHO has found that people are most receptive and more likely to speak with their doctor when information is given to them in a culturally relevant format and in their primary language.
He noted that it is especially important in the Asian community, where there is still a lot of stigma associated with this disease, deterring patients from seeking proper care.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.25 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis B, and over half are of Asian and Pacific Island descent. Each year, more than 5,000 Americans die from liver complications related to hepatitis B.
The Hepatitis B Initiative estimates that Asians and Pacific Islanders account for more than half of the chronic hepatitis B infections. A recent survey of perceptions of hepatitis B in the Asian-American community showed that while most are aware of the disease, many cited general lack of information and uncertainty about disease symptoms, transmittability, treatment options and vaccination.
Robert Zito, Bristol-Myers Squibb's chief communications officer said that BMS is committed to helping patients prevail against serious diseases and that reaching non-English speaking communities in their native languages about diseases is consistent with the company's promise to patients.