Biogen ends Tecfidera DTC campaign, citing prescriptions

Biogen halted its direct-to-consumer campaign for multiple-sclerosis drug Tecfidera because the campaign did not clearly boost the number of prescriptions.

Michel Vounatsos, the company's new commercial lead, told investors during a second-quarter earnings call that the company is unlikely to wade back into broadcast TV for the foreseeable future. Biogen had launched the ad, titled Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, in October.

“Our judgement at this point is that [the campaign] didn't have a discernible movement on scripts, and [it came] with some drawbacks as well,” Biogen CEO George Scangos said.

See also: Biogen slashes workforce, invests in Tecfidera DTC

The TV campaign asked viewers to take “another look” at relapsing multiple sclerosis, showing a woman living her life with fewer relapses—including shots of her hiking, swimming and attending a carnival.

Omnicom agency CDMiConnect developed the creative for the ad. CMI and WPP's MEC were responsible for media buying.

A former Biogen patient consultant had criticized the ad in a blog post, writing that it missed the mark and “misrepresents MS and perpetuates all the myths we fight regularly but especially the one that others often think we can just take something like this little blue pill and get over and above our MS.”

See also: Tecfidera's DTC campaign boosts Web traffic and call volume

Biogen spent $67.2 million on advertising for Tecfidera in 2015 and doled out $35.5 million in the first quarter of this year, according to Kantar Media.

Tecfidera brought in sales of $987 million in the second quarter of 2016, compared to $883 million in the same period a year ago. In the first three months of 2016, Tecfidera saw $946 million in sales.

Scangos also announced that he would be stepping down as CEO after a six-year tenure with the drugmaker. He presided over the historic launch of Tecfidera.