Group launches Pfizer-backed awareness effort

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Spurred on by the approval of Lyrica, the National Fibromyalgia Association is launching an educational campaign to raise awareness of the disorder, which affects an estimated 6 to 10 million Americans.

With backing from Pfizer and the services of Weisscomm Partners, the patient group rolled out a 30-second TV PSA, Web sites (fmaware.org, fibrohope.org) and a satellite media tour last month. The TV spot, produced by Pfizer agency Kaplan Thaler Group, features sufferers talking about their pain, with the text: “These people are not acting.” A voiceover says: “Imagine feeling this kind of pain, and no one knows what it is or believes you even have it.” It is airing nationally on cable and network TV.

“In our society, once you have an FDA-approved drug and a PSA, a condition becomes legitimate,” said NFA president Lynne Matallana. “It takes these things to reach enough people and make them understand the severity of the illness.”

Matallana was a partner at Diversified Marketing Concepts when she developed the condition in 1993. “I ended up spending two-and-a-half years in bed and seeing 37 doctors before I found a doctor who was able to diagnose,” she said.

An NFA survey of physicians found fewer than one-third of physicians felt confident in their ability to diagnose the disorder.

The group, which boasts 50,000 members, is partnering with physician and author Dr. Pamela Peeke who joined Matallana on the satellite media tour.

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