Biohaven Pharmaceuticals tapped into Khloe Kardashian’s social media power to raise awareness for migraine and promote its treatment Nurtec ODT.
The company engaged with Kardashian because of her public struggle with migraine. She has spoken about her migraines on the show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and on her social media.
“We heard about Khloe’s struggle with migraine for a long time,” said Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric. “Someone also forwarded me the episode where she was in bed from a migraine and was quite debilitated. We thought she could benefit from Nurtec, so we got her doctor some samples and she eventually tried it and had a great response. After having such a great response, we engaged her about how she could help us. She has a powerful voice and could help us explain how she responded and help educate folks about migraine and the disabling effects of it.”
Kardashian was on board and became the face of Nurtec ODT’s Take Back Today campaign. One part of the campaign was posts on her social media accounts. Her Instagram post about Nurtec has received more than 700,000 likes and 5 million views, Coric said.
Beyond social media, Kardashian also appeared on Good Morning America, The View and other shows to discuss her migraines and experience with Nurtec.
One interview highlighted the purpose of the campaign: to encourage migraine patients to be open and share their stories.
“In the midst of this campaign, she’s commented on how many people she has affected by sharing her own story of migraine and how they’ve shared their story and their frustration too,” Coric said. “On ‘The View,’ Khloe was interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg and Khloe’s ability to talk about migraine got Whoopi to talk about her own migraines. That’s the kind of patient interaction we want.”
The Take Back Today campaign also features other patients. The campaign’s TV spot features the story of Ellie, a young woman who suffered from debilitating migraines.
The Biohaven team hopes that by encouraging more people to share their migraine story, the stigma around migraine will decrease and patients may feel more comfortable talking to their doctors or seeking treatment.
“We want to break down that stigma because it impairs patients finding the right treatment,” Coric said. “They suffer, internalize, don’t talk to each other and don’t know there could be help out there. Take back today camp wasn’t just about Khloe. It was about sharing her story so that others felt comfortable sharing theirs. That decreases stigma. When someone as big as Khloe says I’ve had this since grade 6 and it has impacted her life, how she internalized things, how she would isolate because people would think, ‘It’s just a headache, get over it.’”
Kardashian’s social posts gave Biohaven the “highest web traffic we’ve had to date,” Coric said. There was also a surge in interest from physicians, he noted, with the physician website seeing its highest traffic immediately after her post. “Even young doctors out there keep up with Kardashians,” he joked.
Coric said successful campaigns like this are key to ensuring patients get new treatments. Pharma companies spend many years and many millions of dollars developing drugs, but often patients simply don’t know these drugs are out there.
Kardashian was a perfect fit here because migraine typically affects young women, but Coric said pharma companies should work harder to ensure patients know about new drugs.
“You take all this time to get drug approved, but it can take another three to five years before there is peak penetration, when most patients know about it,” Coric said. “That’s three to five years that people could be suffering needlessly. Modern day pharma companies have to do better than that. The first step is developing the drug, and the second step is knowledge transfer. This collaboration with Khloe is about how we can more quickly help people and change their lives.”