Merck launches asthma site for Spanish-speakers

Share this article:
Merck teamed up with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, for an asthma education website targeting Spanish-speakers.

The unbranded site, built by PiranhaKid (division of Hill & Knowlton) and located at, provides visitors with information about household items that can trigger asthma outbreaks, an asthma information packet for printing, and links to the AAFA's Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.  

On the website's homepage, Torres tells visitors (in español) that 2.7 million Hispanic Americans suffer from asthma and that can help explain the possible causes and symptoms of disease.
Materials on the site also link back to Merck's long-running, an educational site designed to “separate fact from fiction” about asthma. It is not true, for example, that “only emotional kids get asthma,” or that “moving to a dry climate will cure my asthma,” according to the website.   

Survey data conducted by Kelton Research in April 2010 and funded by Merck found that 86% of the 202 Hispanic American asthma patients surveyed “felt they have been unable to control their asthma,” and 79% said they “don't know everything there is to know about their disease,” according to a release.

“Asthma is quite prevalent in the Hispanic American community. Yet, there are few resources in Spanish to help patients understand their disease,” said Jaime Alvarez, an allergist and immunologist, in the release.

In June, Merck received FDA approval for a new combination inhaler called Dulera, indicated for asthma patients 12 years and older. The company also picked up several asthma products along with its acquisition of Schering-Plough in 2009, including the Asmanex Twisthaler, the Foradil Aerolizer and Proventil HFA. Merck also markets Singulair, a blockbuster asthma and allergy drug, with 1Q 2010 global sales at $1.2 billion, according to a Merck quarterly report.

Merck is the latest drugmaker to launch an unbranded consumer campaign fronted by a celebrity and backed by a not-for-profit health organization. In June, Sanofi-Aventis organized a similar triumvirate with NASCAR's Jeff Gordon and the March of Dimes, to educate consumers about pertussis.
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters


Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Features

Read the complete October 2014 Digital Edition

Read the complete October 2014 Digital Edition

Click the above link to access the complete Digital Edition of the October 2014 issue of MM&M, with all text, charts and pictures.

Predicting your pink slip

Predicting your pink slip

Any time a firm needs to save money, high-salaried executives are targets

Private View: New ways to engage with customers

Private View: New ways to engage with customers

These healthcare social media campaigns successfully use emotion, altruism and the human desire to "brand" oneself to get customers engaged.