Friday, April 28, 2006

Lunesta: Golden or Bitter Pill?

Lunesta: Golden or Bitter Pill?

Friday, April 28, 2006 / John Mack (from Pharma Marketing Blog)

The results are in! Lunesta wins both the DTC National Gold Award as well as Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) Project's "While You were Sleeping" Bitter Pill Award! (For more on these awards, see "DTC National Advertising Awards Winners" and "The While You Were Sleeping Award: For Overmarketing Insomnia Medications to Anyone who's ever had a Bad Night's Sleep").

Guess which one Lunesta marketing director Jay Popli and McCann-Erickson (the Lunesta ad agency) general manager Andrew Schirmer will hang on their walls?

I wasn't at the DTC National Award Dinner -- me getting a press pass for that event is about as easy as a camel passing through the eye of a needle -- but I was invited to PAL's online Bitter Pill awards press conference.

These two organizations square off against each other viz-a-viz competing drug ad awards every year.

PAL claims to represent consumers in class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and targets deceptive marketing. It is against any DTC advertising -- including 60-second TV ads -- that do not include the full product labeling (see "
FDA DTC Hearings Day 2").

DTC Prespectives Magazine, which hosts the DTC National Awards, is an industry publication whose very existence obviously completely depends on DTC advertising.

These two organizations could not be further apart on the DTC advocacy spectrum. Both agree, however, that Lunesta deserves an award -- isn't that nice?

According to PAL, Lunesta had more than $321 million in sales in 2005 and Sepracor spent more than $215 million advertising it that year, making it #2 in direct to consumer advertising for all prescription drugs (PAL cites credible sources for these data).

I guess you could call that a positive return on investment: for every dollar spent on advertising, Lunesta made $1.49. It's a bit less, however, than the $1.68, estimated for DTC in general (see "
eDetailing ROI Better than DTC?"). Keep in mind that it's only the first year the product is on the market and the competition for market share is fierce. "Its sales in 2006," notes PAL, "are expected to increase significantly as the aggressive marketing begins to really pay off."

PAL levels several criticisms of the Lunesta ad campaign including the allegation that Sepracor is violating the PhRMA DTC Guiding Principles by running reminder ads. I have also pointed this out recently (see "
Sepracor Sneaks In Lunesta Reminder Ad"). Either PAL is confirming my observation or else they are just picking up what I posted without attribution to me. I didn't bother to ask them what evidence they had to back up their claim.

What Chutzpah!

Given that some Lunesta ads are in violation of at least one of PhRMA's DTC guidelines, I find it strange that attendees of the DTC National conference would have the
chutzpah to give Lunesta marketers a Gold Award at a conference in which "Critical Issue #1" was "What is the future of DTC marketing? Are you ready for the new rules -- from FDA -- from Congress? The PhRMA guiding principles?" Not only that, but representatives from the FDA, PhRMA, and Public Citizen -- Ralph Nader was an invited speaker/panel member -- were also in attendance!

Tell me, Ralph, did you find any irony in this?

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Exubera's Approval Means Diabetics Have Their First-Ever Noninjectable Insulin

Take a Deep Breath!

Exubera’s Approval Means Diabetics Have Their First-Ever Noninjectable Insulin

Daniel Trecroci
April 2006

If you have ever dreamed of taking your insulin without needles, your dream came true on January 27, 2006. That was when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Exubera (insulin of human [rDNA origin]) Inhalation Powder for treatment of adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Exubera, manufactured by Pfizer, Inc., will make its debut sometime around the middle of this year. According to Pfizer CEO and chairman Hank McKinnell, Exubera is a “major, first-of-its-kind medical breakthrough that marks another critical step forward in the treatment of diabetes.”

The safety and efficacy of Exubera were studied in 2,500 adult patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

“Exubera was found in clinical trials to be as effective as short-acting insulin injections and to significantly improve blood sugar control when added to diabetes pills,” according to Pfizer.

The FDA reports that in clinical studies, “Exubera reached peak insulin concentration more quickly than … regular insulin.” They add, “Peak insulin levels were achieved at 49 minutes (range 30 to 90 minutes) with Exubera inhaled insulin compared to 105 minutes (range 60 to 240 minutes) with regular insulin, respectively.”

‘Not Going to Replace Short-Acting Analogues’

Exubera does not look like an asthma inhaler. Steve Freed, BSPharm, CDE, and the publisher of the Web site, says the Exubera inhaler weighs about 4 ounces.

“Folded up, it’s the size of a standard flashlight,” says Freed. “A retractable inhaler tube comes out from the body of the device. When extended, it reaches from the chest to the mouth.”

William Cefalu, MD, is an Exubera investigator and a professor and chief of the division of nutrition and chronic Disease at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. He says that Exubera is not going to replace the shorter-acting analogues.

“This is a meal insulin, which should work as well as [Humalog and NovoLog],” says Cefalu, who advises that patients who are in control using a pump or multiple daily injections not consider using Exubera.

Diabetes Professionals Weigh In

Steven Edelman, MD, of Veteran’s Hospital in San Diego, California, was pleased and “not surprised” with the FDA’s decision to approve Exubera.

“I think we need all of the tools we can get our hands on to help people with diabetes get under the best possible glycemic control,” says Edelman. “Inhaled insulin will definitely help a significant number of people with diabetes.”

Stuart Brink, MD, senior endocrinologist at the New England Diabetes and Endocrinology Center and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, says Exubera-using diabetics need to understand that Exubera does not mean “no more shots.” It is meant to be taken as a bolus fast-acting insulin preparation, much like Novolog, Humalog and Apidra. At present, there is no inhalable basal long-acting insulin.

“Therefore, one would need either intermediate or long-lasting insulins [such as NPH, Lantus, Detemir] in addition to bolus insulin for more severely insulin-deficient patients,” says Brink.

Nicole Glaser, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, Davis, has mixed feelings about Exubera’s approval. “On one hand, I think many patients dislike injections, and having to give fewer injections would be helpful,” she says. “On the other hand, there is not much long-term data, and I am concerned about long-term effects on lung function, blood flow to the lungs, etc.”

Richard K. Bernstein, MD, FACE, FACN, FACCWS, of the Diabetes Center in Mamaroneck, New York, is skeptical about Exubera because of its absorption profile.

“[John P. Bantle, MD,] demonstrated a number of years ago that at the doses commonly used in the United States—about 20 units per shot—the absorption of insulin, if injected in the abdomen, from one day to the next, if injected in the same person, varies by about 29 percent,” says Bernstein. “If they inject in the arm, it varies by 39 percent.”

The absorption of Exubera is about six to 10 percent of a dose. This is the primary drawback of Exubera use for Bernstein.

“Percentage-wise, 6 percent is 60 percent of 10 percent,” says Bernstein. “So, you can have your absorption varying from one dose to the next by the difference of 40 percent. Putting it another way, 40 out of 60 would be two-thirds. You can get an uncertainty of 67 percent from one dose to the next. Which is more than twice as bad as Bantle found.”

Bernstein says his patients are on low-carb diets and use very little insulin. Therefore, their insulin absorption, unlike Bantle’s, is very predictable. His guess is that Exubera-using diabetics who don’t follow his regimen will be in more or less the same boat they are in now.

“They’ll be on a rollercoaster,” says Bernstein. “If this uncertainty of 67 percent really is for every person, and you don’t know from one dose to the next whether you are going to be getting 67 percent more or less insulin than last time, then you are in great danger of hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis.”

Good Option for Type 2s

In patients with type 2 diabetes, Pfizer says Exubera can be used alone as an alternative to rapid-acting insulin injections or diabetes pills, or in combination with diabetes pills or longer-acting insulin.

Cefalu says the ideal Exubera patient is an adult type 2 who is failing oral therapy, and who needs to go to insulin but has concerns about injections.

“The ideal patient is someone who was using NPH or Regular in a formulation that was not really physiologic,” says Cefalu. “Maybe an individual who was taking one injection of a basal but refusing to take the meal-time injection.”

Brink agrees and feels that the type 2 who uses multiple oral medications but is still not achieving adequate after-meal blood glucose control is the ideal candidate for Exubera.

Bernstein also agrees that a type 2 who is still making a lot of insulin would be an ideal candidate for Exubera.

Be Sure to Get the Medication Guide

The FDA states that a Medication Guide containing FDA-approved information written especially for patients will accompany Exubera prescriptions. Pharmacists are required to distribute Medication Guides with products the FDA has determined are important to health, and for which patient adherence to directions for use is crucial to the product’s effectiveness. Patients are advised to read the entire Medication Guide and talk to their healthcare provider if they have further questions.

At press time, Exubera’s cost still was not determined.

Patients and healthcare providers can call (800) 398- 2372 to register to receive more information about Exubera when it becomes available.

Exubera is a rapid-acting, dry-powder human insulin that is inhaled through the mouth into the lungs prior to eating, using the handheld Exubera Inhaler.

The Exubera Inhaler produces in its chamber a cloud of insulin powder, which is designed to pass rapidly into the bloodstream to regulate the body’s blood glucose levels.

Source: Pfizer, Inc.

Exubera was studied in more than 2,500 adults with type 1 or type 2 for an average duration of 20 months.

According to a Pfizer spokesperson, “In clinical trials, many patients using Exubera reported greater treatment satisfaction than patients taking insulin by injection. Significantly more patients who had used both Exubera and insulin injections or diabetes pills reported an overall preference for Exubera.”

Source: Pfizer, Inc.

Safety Information About Exubera

  • Pfizer advises that patients should not take Exubera if they smoke or have stopped smoking less than six months prior to starting Exubera. If a patient starts smoking or resumes smoking, he or she must stop using Exubera and see a healthcare provider about starting a different treatment.
  • Patients need to have their lungs tested before starting Exubera and periodically thereafter, as directed by their healthcare provider.
  • Exubera is not recommended for people who have chronic lung disease (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema).
  • Exubera should not be used at all by people with unstable or poorly controlled lung disease.
  • Some patients have reported a mild cough while using Exubera, which occurred within seconds to minutes after Exubera inhalation. Coughing occurred less frequently as patients continued to use Exubera.

Source: Pfizer, Inc.

We asked 165 Diabetes Health readers who take insulin if they were going to try Exubera. Here is what they told us:

Yes, I will give Exubera a try = 33 (20%)

No, I am happy with my current insulin regimen = 132 (80%)

Are You Waiting to Inhale?

Yes! I can’t wait for Exubera to hit the market. It will be so much easier to take my “with food” insulin without running off to a bathroom to inject. And just the thought of no more black-and-blue marks on my arms is cause for celebration!

Pamela Weiger
Orlando, Florida

I have zero interest in even trying Exubera. My reasons are (1) I doubt that any inhaler design can achieve the fractional dosage accuracy I believe I need and know I can get with a syringe; (2) the insufficient data on any possible long-term side effects of inhaling insulin several times a day; (3) currently, there’s no inhaler for basal needs, so I’d still have to use needles.

William Whitfield
Redlands, California

I will be talking to my endocrinologist to see if it is a viable treatment for me. I am currently taking Lantus and Humalog at about four or five shots a day. If I could eliminate the Humalog, I would have to take only one shot a day. If my doctor thinks it will work for me and if it is not too expensive, I will try it.

Steve Farnsworth
Orangevale, California

No, I will not try Exubera. I was in one of the early trials for it. I had terrible breathing problems with it. Even if that had not been the case, the equipment is cumbersome and uncomfortable to use. There are still too many restrictions and side effects. I use a Medtronic MiniMed pump. It is so easy to use, I have excellent control, and there is no problem with cumbersome equipment.

Jacqueline Miller
Rosemount, Minnesota

Yes, I do plan to use Exubera. This product should have been released two years ago, when I was in the clinical program. I take three shots of NovoLog a day and one shot of Lantus at night. This is the best thing that could have ever happened for diabetics. The product works fabulously. I can’t wait to be able to buy this product on the market. Now all they need to do is come up with an inhaled long-acting insulin.

Tina Moyer
Safety Harbor, Florida

I have decided not to try the new inhaled insulin at this time. I am happy with my present regimen and control. Since there is no way of knowing how much insulin you are actually absorbing into your system, I believe that there is going to be a big problem with accidental hypoglycemia.

Florian Menninger, Jr.
Northborough, Massachusetts

Is Exubera Another GlucoWatch?

The last time a diabetes drug or device received this much hype was in 2002 when the FDA approved the GlucoWatch Biographer. Like Exubera, patients had waited years in anticipation for the GlucoWatch to receive FDA approval. When it did, however, questions about its accuracy and its mind-boggling cost put the GlucoWatch on the fast track to being one of the biggest disappointments in diabetes history.

Could inhalable insulin meet the same fate? We asked diabetes professionals to speculate on whether Exubera might turn out to be the next great diabetes bust.

  • Dr. Brink says that if Exubera is too expensive and bulky or if dose decisions become too cumbersome, patients might shy away from it. Also, if lung irritation—even in nonsmokers, non-asthmatics and people without bronchitis—becomes a problem, they might decide it’s not worth it.
  • Dr. Bernstein speculates that because of Exubera’s absorption issues, too many instances of severe hypoglycemia might make people go back to taking shots for the bolus insulin.
  • Dr. Edelman says that you cannot compare a device like the GlucoWatch with Exubera or any inhaled insulin. Edelman feels that the only potential problem might be getting healthcare insurance companies to pay for Exubera.

Sounding Off

“I work with children, and Exubera is not yet approved in that age group, so my patients will have to wait until more data on children is obtained. It will be very important that there is enough long-term safety data for the pediatric age group.”

Nicole Glaser, MD

“Inhaled insulin works fairly similarly to the fast-acting insulin analogues like Apidra, Humalog and NovoLog. Any person who needs to be on a fast-acting insulin given with meals to control the post-meal glucose values and in between to treat unexpected high glucose values may be a candidate for inhaled insulin.”

Steven Edelman, MD

“All we have is this blanket statement that 6 to 10 percent is absorbed. Does that mean 6 to 10 percent, depending on the individual? Depending on the day of the week? What does that mean? Based on what they tell us, we have no idea what a given individual is going to experience in variation.”

Richard K. Bernstein, MD, FACE, FACN, FACCWS

“Inhalable insulin is a novel way to give insulin, which will benefit many patients. However, it should not be viewed as a miracle drug. Many patients will not be able to use it because of price or contraindications. Many will not know how to use it.“

Najm Pierre, MD

“The pictures I’ve seen of the gadget in use make French horn lessons look easier.”

Rod Hamer, MD

“Inhaled insulin has the potential to educate more patients about insulin use in general, as well as basal–bolus therapy. Ultimately, patients who adopt insulin therapies that more closely mimic a healthy pancreas are better off. Insulin pump therapy is the most advanced therapy available in terms of its ability to mimic pancreatic function.”

Alan Marcus, MD, FACP

“If people knew how to inject insulin properly, there would be no market for this stuff.”

Richard K. Bernstein, MD, FACE, FACN, FACCWS

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Pfizer sponsors live cholesterol chat online

Pfizer sponsors live cholesterol chat online

Pfizer is sponsoring a program for the American Heart Association (AHA) called the Cholesterol Low Down. The program, which is available free online, provides users with a step-by-step break-down of understanding and managing their cholesterol levels. Registered users will receive a monthly e-newsletter, low-fat recipes, and daily tips from the AHA. Cholesterol Low Down also hosted a live online chat this week, during which doctors answered questions about cholesterol and heart disease. The program is being archived and will be available for rebroadcast, according to the site. There are also links to the AHA and its resources, the Go Red for Women site, and a cholesterol 101 quiz.


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Web site helps patients find cancer clinical trials

Web site helps patients find cancer clinical trials

Women with gynecological cancer now have an online source for finding out about available clinical trials. The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) have teamed up for the Web page, which is available on GCF's Women's Cancer Network site. Users can find detailed descriptions of current trials, including the study's purpose, how it works, eligibility requirements, and the potential risks and benefits of participating. Once users have found a trial they think they may qualify for, they can call the GOG staff to learn the nearest participating trial site and how to get in touch with the study's facilitators. GOG's Industry Collaboration Team, which aims to facilitate a two-way communication between industry and GOG, involves more than a dozen pharmas, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis, according to the site. Go to the Women's Cancer Network site to read more.


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Sequoia's Kvamme: Online Advertising to Blow Away Everyone's Expectations

Sequoia's Kvamme: Online Advertising to Blow Away Everyone's Expectations

In his keynote address at this week's Ad:Tech San Francisco tradeshow, Sequoia Capital Partner Mark Kvamme predicted that internet advertising would be a $35 billion market in 2008, nearly double the $18 billion predicted by the Internet Advertising Bureau, writes ClickZ's Rebecca Lieb. At the heart of his prediction is his belief that advertisers will see the value in online advertising and siphon dollars from TV.

Kvamme said TV reaches 32 percent of the population, but 38 percent of ad dollars are allocated to it; the web, meanwhile, reaches 32 percent of people but internet advertising captures a mere five percent of ad dollars. TV CPMs are around $64, contrasted to $10-30 online.

Other speakers said RFPs are burgeoning, and that most of that new business is from brand advertisers, particularly consumer packaged goods companies. Agencies are also saying they're dealing with a new client demographic: senior management and CMOs.

This year's Ad:Tech has moved to larger convention center quarters to accommodate some 9,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors, writes ClickZ. But, at the same time, notably absent are MSN, AOL and Yahoo; though Google is present, it is maintaining a low profile. (The official Ad:Tech blog provides a flavor of goings-on - and various shenanigans - at the tradeshow, which ends today.)

Kvamme is also quoted as saying increasing broadband penetration in the U.S. market will boost online commerce. He pointed out that 30 percent of all Korean retail transactions occur online thanks to that country's 68 percent broadband penetration.


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DTC National Advertising Awards Winners

DTC National Advertising Awards Winners

Lunesta Wins Gold Awards for Best Branded Print and Best Branded Television Campaigns at 2006 DTC National Advertising Awards

Lunesta Wins Gold Awards for Best Branded Print and Best Branded Television Campaigns at 2006 DTC National Advertising Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 26) – The branded print and broadcast ads for Sepracor’s Lunesta were honored with Gold Awards at the DTC National Advertising Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., last night.

The “Luna Moth” ads were selected as the best branded print and best broadcast ads in a vote by delegates at the DTC National Conference earlier in the day. The 500-plus delegates voted on 10 different advertising campaigns in both the Best Branded Print and Best Branded Television categories. In addition, a panel of expert judges selected the winners in nine other DTC advertising categories.

The “Luna Moth” campaign was created for Lunesta by McCann-Erickson HumanCare. Lunesta marketing director Jay Popli and McCann-Erickson general manager Andrew Schirmer accepted the two Gold Awards at the gala dinner, which was hosted by RealAge as part of the DTC National Conference at the JW Marriott Hotel.

“We congratulate all the finalists for their creative, effective DTC campaigns. RealAge is proud to be associated with the presentation to the winners of these prestigious awards over the past five years,” said Rich Benci, President of RealAge Inc. CBS and Parade magazine presented the Ad Awards in the Branded Television and Branded Print categories, respectively.
In the Best Branded Television category, a Lilly ICOS ad for Cialis, “It’s OK Honey,” won the Silver Award, and the Toprol-XL ad, “Listen to Your Doctor,” won the Bronze Award. Grey Worldwide created the Cialis television ad, and Quantum created the Toprol-XL television ad for AstraZeneca.

A GlaxoSmithKline ad for Imitrex (“Monster”) won the Silver Award in the Branded Print category and AstraZeneca’s Crestor won the Bronze Award for its “Aim Lower” campaign. Grey Worldwide created the Imitrex print ad, and Saatchi & Saatchi Consumer Healthcare created the winning Crestor ad (“Arrow”).

Winning the Gold Award in the Branded Integrated Campaign category was AstraZeneca’s Toprol-XL. The marketing team for Toprol-XL also received the Yahoo! Big Idea Chair from Yahoo’s Jack Barrette, category development officer for health. The agency roster for Toprol-XL included SimStar, Quantum, Edelman & AvenueA / Razorfish and Zenith.

Astellas/GlaxoSmithKline won the Silver Award for its integrated VESIcare campaign, a collaboration with agencies Euro RSCG Tonic, One to One Interactive, Mediaedge:cia, Edelman & Targetbase. Sepracor’s Lunesta received the Bronze Award in the Branded Integrated category. The agencies for Lunesta are: McCann Erickson HumanCare, e-Tractions, Initiative Media and Zeno Group.

In the Non-Branded Television campaign, the Gold Award went to AstraZeneca’s “If You Were My Sister” campaign created by Wunderman/Y&R. Eli Lilly received the Silver Award for “Depression Hurts,” which FCB created. GlaxoSmithKline’s “Consequences” campaign received the Bronze Award. BBDO New York created the GSK campaign.

In the Non-Branded Print category, Roche won the Gold Award for its “Bruises” campaign, which was created by FCB. Eli Lilly won the Silver Award (with FCB) for its “Depression Hurts” print ad. Sanofi-Aventis’ “What You Don’t Know Could Kill You” won the Bronze Award. Euro RSCG Tonic created the Sanofi-Aventis non-branded print ad.

Serono received the Gold Award in the Non-Branded Web Site category for, which the agency Cramer created. The Silver Award went to Novartis Oncology (with agency Merkley & Partners) for the Web site AstraZeneca, with agency Medical Broadcasting Company, received the Bronze Award for the Web site,

In the Branded Website category, AstraZeneca won the Gold Award for, which was created by Medical Broadcasting Company. The Silver Award went to Novartis and Euro RSCG Tonic for, and AstraZeneca won the Bronze Award for the, created by Tribal DDB Health.

In the Multi-Cultural Campaign category, Gilead Sciences won the Gold Award for its Hepatitis B campaign, which was created by Ignite Health. The Silver Award went to AstraZeneca (with Bromley Communications) for a Nexium campaign, and NitroMed Inc. won the Bronze Award for its Heart Failure campaign. Medical Broadcasting Company created the NitroMed campaign.

Reckitt Benckiser, with its agency Quantum, won the Gold Award in the Branded/Non-Branded Radio Campaign for a Suboxone ad. Astellas/ GlaxoSmithKline won the Silver Award for a Vesicare campaign, created by Euro RSCG Tonic. Allergan Inc. won the Bronze Aware for BOTOX for Hyperhidrosis, with agency Grey Worldwide.

In the Medical Device, Test or Procedure category, Vistakon (with agency Gillespie) won the Gold Award for Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear. INSCOPE received the Silver Award, with agency GSW Worldwide, for the PillCam campaign. The Bronze winner was EES (also with GSW Worldwide) for the Procedure for Prolapsed Hemorrhoids.

The Gold Award winner in the CRM/Direct Mail category was AstraZeneca for its Arimidex campaign, created by Wunderman. Astellas won the Silver Award for Prograf (with agency Kane & Finkel Healthcare Communications) and Novartis received the Bronze Award for Xolair, created by Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle.

This year’s independent judging panel included Mark Einhorn, Executive Vice President, The PreTesting Company; Fariba Zamaniyan, Vice-President, IAG Research; Dorothy Wetzel, Independent Marketing Consultant; Angela Federici, SVP, Pharmaceutical Practice Leader, Millward Brown; Therese Glennon, VP Division Manager, Professional Healthcare Manager, BASES; Fred Church, VP Health & Pharmaceutical Practice, Ipsos North America, and Robert A. Girondi, Executive Vice President, Media Research & Development, Communications Media, Inc.
The June issue of DTC Perspectives Magazine will feature coverage of the DTC National Conference and will profile each of the Advertising Award winners.

For more information about the DTC Perspectives’ Ad Awards, contact Mark Tosh at DTC Perspectives at (973) 377-2106, x-224.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MedsiteCME adds animated video to eCME site

MedsiteCME adds animated video to eCME site
MedsiteCME has added multimedia in the form of animated videos to its online CME case studies, the company reports. The addition of multimedia to the case-based CME programs allows physicians to view and interact with patient videos, diagnostic imaging, and animated mechanisms. The video makes it easier for physicians to visualize procedures and anatomy in an interactive manner, Medsite says. MedsiteCME maintains more than 450,000 physicians in its database and is supported by unrestricted educational grants from more than 20 pharma companies. An example of three neurology cases with multimedia can be found at MedSiteCME. Earlier this month, The New England Journal of Medicine added to its Web site peer-reviewed educational videos that aim to teach procedures and specialized physical examinations (ePharm5, 4/17/06).

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Merck creates awareness with cervical cancer multimedia campaign

Merck creates awareness with cervical cancer multimedia campaign

Merck is running a TV and Web campaign to educate consumers about cervical cancer, HPV, and Pap tests. The TV ads drive consumers to the Web site, and the ads and site feature women saying they didn't know cervical cancer is caused by types of the common human papillomavirus (HPV). The site encourages women to educate themselves and also to "tell someone" else about it, too. Users can send an e-card to friends and family to spread the word. The site includes a quiz to test users' knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer; information about the causes, detection, symptoms, and treatment of cervical cancer; a glossary; and other resources. In October 2005, Merck released clinical study data showing that its investigational vaccine, Gardasil, prevented 100% of two kinds of cervical cancer associated with HPV. Go to Merck's site for more information.

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AOL Launches Site For Mothers And Toddlers

AOL Launches Site For Mothers And Toddlers
by Wendy Davis, Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 6:00 AM EST
AMERICA ONLINE HAS LAUNCHED A new Web site geared for preschoolers ages 2 to 5 and their mothers.

The free site,, will be supported by ads geared toward mothers of toddlers, said Malcolm Bird, senior vice president, AOL Kids & Teens. Marketers will be able to purchase a banner at the top of the page. While the site will contain video, AOL hasn't yet decided whether to offer marketers the chance to buy pre-roll ads, Bird said. AOL's broader children's channel, Kids AOL, offers advertisers the opportunity to purchase pre-roll inventory.

While Kids AOL, or KOL, has long contained a section dedicated to preschool children and their mothers, that portion of the site was previously underdeveloped, Bird said. "We never really had the correct amount of programming and resources against our preschool offering," Bird said.

The new KOL Jr. site--which quietly came out of beta testing last week--has been completely redesigned, and boasts games and music in addition to a new original animated series, "Pilar's Adventures." In June, AOL plans to enter into licensing deals for Pilar books, videos, and clothes--similar to deals that company has done for Kids AOL's cartoon series "Princess Natasha." Last year, AOL signed a licensing deal

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Are Five-Second Ads the Future of Web Marketing?

Are Five-Second Ads the Future of Web Marketing?

Metacafe and Other Video Sites Develop a Fresh Idea to Bolster Online Advertising

YORK, Pa. ( -- Five-second video ads, anyone? That may be the future of Web advertising if one Web video CEO has his way., which offers short-form video content, began selling ad space two months ago and is running five-second ads from H&R Block.

Arik Czerniak, chief executive of Metacafe -- a competitor to video-sharing sites like YouTube, Google Video, iFilm, and others -- wants marketers and ad agencies to tailor messages to the preferences of viewers of short-form videos online.

"Why not five-second video ads?" he said. "I would gladly put those in front of videos. But I will never put 30-second ads in front of videos. It's too much. It ruins the experience for viewers."

As video sites ride the popularity tide begun by YouTube, the ideas of Mr. Czerniak and others in the burgeoning community will likely be seriously considered by marketers. Metacafe began offering advertising space to marketers two months ago and is already running five-second ads from H&R Block. Mr. Czerniak said more are in the works and that he has had inquiries from Johnson & Johnson and many others, including "a big media company."

In general, Internet video services rack up minimal revenue today ($200 million in 2005), but market intelligence firm IDC estimates that by 2010, revenue for the category will reach $1.7 billion. Advertising will account for almost half (46%) of that 2010 revenue, according to a report this month by IDC analyst Josh Martin.

"When kids watch videos on the Web, they're not watching TV, so increasingly as their attention shifts from TV to the Web, advertisers who want to reach them will shift too," said analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. "The popularity of these sites showcases a change in audience behavior."

Still, the shift is slow-growing. While Metacafe and its competitors have begun taking ads, they live on their venture capital investments. For Metacafe, that's about $5 million to date from Benchmark Capital, Mr. Czerniak said. Also this year: got $10 million from Polaris Venture Partners, and YouTube scored $8 million from Sequoia Capital.

The 'old boys'
YouTube's success has spawned a raft of new viral video companies, but the "old boys" of the overpopulated category still dominate. YouTube, currently capturing much of the buzz thanks to run-ins with NBC over "Saturday Night Live" clips, is joined at the top of category by Google Video, iFilm,, and Metacafe.

The category's sudden popularity has brought scrutiny, investments and complications: Amateur video postings on YouTube and Google Video are forcing the sites to deal with daily copyright issues. IFilm got snapped up by Viacom and is working to fit into the MTV Networks division, while is previewing a slate of original video offerings that it wants to sell using a TV broadcast upfront model.

Metacafe is looking to carve out its own niche by going for the middle ground. The company wants to play in the space between user-generated content at one end (YouTube and Google Video) and exclusive or edited video selections at the other (iFilm and

"IFilm is like a DVD store with a sharp owner who chooses which videos to put up on the limited shelf space," Mr. Czerniak said. "YouTube and Google Video are like huge hangars with files everywhere and people wandering around trying to find what they like."

Metacafe manages uploaded content with "collaborative filtering" by its own viewers to enable the best videos, posted by users or professional video-content providers, to bubble up. In addition, Metacafe draws an older audience than the teen popular YouTube.

According to Mr. Czerniak, the average Metacafe user is male, tech savvy, lives in an urban community and has an above-average income. Even more importantly for marketers, the average age of users is 35.

But can five-second ads ever add up to serious money? Mr. Czerniak's scenario: 150 million monthly video impressions with five-second ads at a $10 cost per thousand delivered randomly could bring in some $2.5 million a month. In his estimation, that's more than enough to qualify as successful.
buzz this Launched; TLC, Neutrogena Sponsor Launched; TLC, Neutrogena Sponsor, the recently launched social network targeting women age 25 to 50, has officially gone live and is hoping not only to build an online community but also allow the incorporation of brands into that community experience, writes ClickZ. Moreover, it plans to eventually expand the brand to other channels, including wireless, print, TV and events. The site has two prominent sponsors at launch - Neutrogena and TLC - and a third advertiser will launch its campaign in conjunction with an offline one that breaks next week.

"Advertisers that we've talked to have been very excited by the chance to build a community within a community that they can embed their brand into," Allie Savarino, president and cofounder of Sisterwoman, is quoted by ClickZ as saying. "They want to be involved with sites like MySpace, but they don't want to put their brand at risk."

The number of site sponsors was kept intentionally small to allow members to take ownership of the community before introducing more advertisers, according to Savarino. Ad sales are handled by an in-house team.

Savarino, who helped launch Unicast, is joined in the undertaking by former journalist Sally Rodgers, former E! and MTV executive Joe Shults, and MSN advertising team member Bart Barden.

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Content is crucial in capturing physicians searching online

Content is crucial in capturing physicians searching online

According to Manhattan Research's latest study, 610,000 U.S. physicians use search engines to find medical information online. However, physicians reported varying degrees of relevance and satisfaction with search results. Mark Bard, president of Manhattan Research, says there is a need for more targeted physician-level content online. Searching for health information usually yields consumer-oriented results, but if the searcher is a physician looking for clinical information, the search needs to yield physician-level results, Bard says. It's also important to tag the content appropriately to ensure top organic search listings. The research showed that although consumers are more likely to start their online session with a search engine, physicians are more likely to start with a site that they're familiar with, such as Medscape or MerckMedicus.

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