AstraZeneca Engages Patients with Nexium Youtube Channel

AstraZeneca have launched a YouTube channel entitled AZpurplezone for its drug Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), in a bid to engage US patients who have acid reflux disease.

Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is one of the most common chronic conditions in the US, with risk factors including smoking, diabetes and obesity. Ken Graham, commercial business leader, GI, AstraZeneca, explained in an AstraZeneca blog post that the channel, called AZPurpleZone, would allow AstraZeneca to “share information with patients by engaging with them online,” citing a Pew Internet report which found that 72% of adult internet users searched for health information on the web in the past year. “With more than one billion unique users visiting YouTube each month, the Nexium YouTube channel puts everything from background on GERD to information on cost savings for Nexium at patients' fingertips,” he said.

The AZpurplezone channel will include “burning thoughts” on how to control the symptoms of GERD, through lifestyle changes such as avoiding spicy food. New “burning thoughts” will be included on the AZpurplezone channel every week. It also contains videos explaining acid reflux disease and Nexium as a treatment option, one example being this informational video about Nexium’s role in controlling stomach acid.

Those visiting the site are also offered the chance to save up to $50 when buying a month’s supply of Nexium, and there is a shareable ‘badge’ that can be used by patients to share information about the drug with friends and family on social media.

Although AstraZeneca’s blog post mentioned the need to engage with patients online, this article by ‘PharmaGuy’ points out that ratings (likes and dislikes) and comments on the channel have been disabled, leading to questions over whether AZpurplezone can truly be said to “engage” patients.

The article also mentions possible regulatory issues ahead, as the full prescribing information for Nexium is found not in the videos themselves but by following a link, which will not be present when the videos are shared on social media.

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