Ex-NFLer, Sanofi talk anaphylaxis

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Ex-NFLer, Sanofi talk anaphylaxis
Ex-NFLer, Sanofi talk anaphylaxis

NFL alum Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, is promoting anaphylaxis awareness and Sanofi's talking epinephrine injection, Auvi-Q.

The drug maker recruited Bettis, along with celebrity chef Robin Miller, to encourage patients with severe allergies about how they can have healthier lifestyles and to always have epinephrine with them.

This is the second promotion for the injector, which officially launched in January, just in time for the Superbowl and allergy-friendly gridiron recipes. The current campaign, which began May 16, includes The Severe Allergy & Anaphylaxis Playbook, a downloadable guide that is designed to look like a coach's scratchpad: Notes look handwritten, and the stick-figure style illustrations include x's, o's, and arrows to enhance the feel of a game plan. Section names, like “Medication Allergy Plays” and “Plays for School,” further emphasize the sports look and feel.

Bettis' link to potentially life-threathening allergies is personal: he has a severe shellfish allergy and has discussed his allergies on The Doctors and Rachel Ray.

Sanofi's in-house Anaphylaxis Solutions Marketing led the concept and worked with outside agencies on the presentation. Anaphylaxis Solutions' VP Bryan Downey told MM&M that the outreach is part of Sanofi's focus on “being committed to patient-centric care” and to provide tools that would “help anyone, whether they are a patient or a caregiver...to develop a plan of action.”

Related to the Playbook is an Auvi-Q app, which launched in January and can be used as an injection training and adherence tool: although the device talks patients through injections, this app helps them simulate the steps without making an injection. Patients can also use the app to provide reminders about when their injectors may expire. Generally, the lifespan is about 12 months, and patients can also get that same reminder benefit from the website as well.

Sanofi's promotion isn't limited to consumers—Downey says the company is tapping into its sales forces to promote the campaign. This includes using the company's specialty sales reps as well as the core team that visits allergists, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, school nurses, school administrators, and health departments about anaphylaxis in general.

The FDA approved the talking injector in August 2012. Downey said the injector was developed by twin brothers who wanted to create an injector that would help them cope with their own allergies. He says this need extends to the aesthetic—the pen is about as big as a credit card and wide as a cellphone. “It's really all about putting the patient at the center,” he says.

Downey says the Bettis/Miller promotions will continue to roll out, based on the season.

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