Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IRWD) and Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX) announced today that they have commenced a new direct-to-consumer (DTC) patient awareness campaign for LINZESS® (linaclotide), a once-daily treatment for adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). The campaign aims to help adults suffering from IBS-C or CIC recognize the symptoms of these disorders, describe their symptoms to their doctor, and ask their doctor about LINZESS to help proactively manage their disease. The television portion of the campaign premiered last night on ABC.
“Millions of adults suffer from IBS-C or CIC, but many have not been diagnosed. They may not realize that long-lasting or recurrent symptoms such as infrequent or difficult-to-pass stools, not completely emptying the bowels, and – in IBS-C – belly pain, could indicate the presence of a medical condition and warrant discussion with a doctor,” said Tom McCourt, chief commercial officer at Ironwood . “Even among patients who are diagnosed with IBS-C or CIC, fewer than 10 percent are aware of LINZESS, so we see a significant need to raise awareness of these disease states and of LINZESS as a possible treatment option.”
The consumer awareness campaign is based on research that revealed gaps in the dialogue when and if adult patients with IBS-C or CIC describe their symptoms to their doctor. The comprehensive campaign includes print advertisements in highly visible consumer magazines such as People, Cooking Light and Better Homes & Gardens; television advertising during several Top 10 programs including Modern Family, The Voice and NCIS; online advertising; an updated brand web site ( www.linzess.com); and brochures available in doctors’ offices and pharmacies.
“Forest has traditionally focused primarily on physician-facing activities rather than DTC, but with LINZESS, we felt we had a unique opportunity to reach patients who were having a difficult time identifying and conveying the symptoms they were experiencing,” said Bill Meury, executive vice president, sales and marketing at Forest. “We were struck by market research showing that many IBS-C and CIC sufferers don’t fully describe the severity, frequency, and recurring nature of their symptoms to their doctors, sometimes resulting in a misdiagnosis of common, occasional constipation. This campaign is intended to facilitate a more comprehensive conversation between adult patients and physicians, and to raise consumer awareness about these diseases and LINZESS as a treatment option.”