Allergan ramps up promotion for new rosacea drug

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Allergan took to Facebook to promote rosacea drug Rhofade.

Allergan told investors it plans to increase its promotional efforts for its new rosacea drug, Rhofade, now that it has secured access on CVS Health's formulary.

Rhofade is a treatment for erythema, or redness of the face, a common symptom of rosacea.

The FDA in January approved the drug, which works by constricting blood vessels in the face. Persistent facial redness is often treated with laser therapy. Rhofade, however, is a topical cream.

See also: Allergan reaches the masses via unbranded Botox Facebook page

The company began advertising on Facebook last week and will ramp up other aspects of its consumer-advertising program, Bill Meury, Allergan's chief commercial officer, told investors during an earnings call on Thursday. 

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders further discussed the company's promotional strategy, saying, “as you get formulary coverage, that gives you the ability to advertise more broadly. I liken it back to my consumer days: You don't run a lot of advertising until your product is on the shelf, and that's akin to having formulary coverage. So the team's really focused on access, and they're doing a great job. And as that continues to build, you'll see us continue to ramp up promotion.”

Allergan kicked off marketing efforts for Rhofade in May with Less Red More You, an awareness campaign featuring singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth, who suffers from rosacea. Allergan has frequently leaned on celebrities to market its dermatology, women's health, and aesthetics portfolios. In the past two years, the company developed partnerships with actors Lea Michele, Kate Bosworth, and reality-TV personality Khloé Kardashian. Michele worked with Allergan for its women's health campaign, Actually She Can, while Kardashian kicked off the Live Chin Up campaign for Kybella, a chin-fat injection. Bosworth helped promote acne treatment, Aczone.

See also: Allergan draws on A-list celebs to drive engagement

The first Facebook ad appeared on Rhofade's Facebook page on Thursday. It shows before and after images of a woman who had used the cream.

Facebook has increasingly solicited drugmakers to advertise on its platform. The social media company allowed drugmakers to turn off comments on product-specific pages in November — a longtime complaint from pharma, owing to FDA requirements of reporting all adverse events.

Allergan recently took to Facebook to launch an unbranded page, My Chronic Migraine, to engage with a larger audience on the subject. Botox was approved in 2010 to treat migraines. 

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