Centocor launches online arthritis talk show
An online talk show for rheumatoid arthritis patients has been launched in the US with the aim of raising awareness of the chronic condition.
Direct-to-consumer advertising is permitted in the US, but Centocor Ortho Biotech is pursuing a more inventive and subtle approach to promoting its products and disease awareness.
The online talk show New Way RA is a first for the US industry which is slowly coming to grips with the potential of the internet to communicate with patients.
The talk show offers practical advice and information for adults living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), covering diagnosis and management, nutrition and exercise.
Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, developed the blockbuster anti-TNF arthritis treatment Remicade and is also behind Simponi, a follow-on product that received US approval in April.
Simponi is the first once-monthly anti-TNF that can be administered by patients and analysts predict it will replicate Remicade's blockbuster status.
Writing on J&J's corporate blog, Centocor's senior director of corporate communications Brian Kenney said: "We hope that people living with RA, as well as their caregivers, find New Way RA helpful in answering some questions they may have about their overall well-being, and that this programme will further raise awareness about a chronic disease that affects more than one million Americans, the majority of whom are women."
The talk show is hosted by Emmy award-winning television journalist Deborah Norville and features a number of guest experts in discussions on health, nutrition, fitness, relationships and work/career management.
These include Dr Hayes Wilson, chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, who discusses the importance of patients taking charge of their health and having two-way communication with a doctor.
"My patients frequently share with me that living with RA can be isolating. They feel disconnected from their families, friends and the activities that they once enjoyed prior to the onset of their symptoms," said Dr Hayes Wilson.
"A programme like New Way RA offers great expert advice and information for people living with RA to learn more about themselves and their disease, empowering them to re-engage with people, interests and activities."
The website that hosts the New Way RA talk show also features supplementary materials such as recipes, exercises and stories of everyday people living with RA. It also offers a free DVD of the show to those that register with the site.
The Arthritis Foundation estimates that approximately 1.3 million people in the US are affected by RA, which is characterised by persistent and progressive joint inflammation, causing pain, stiffness and functional disability.
Introduction to New Way RA on J&J's YouTube channel J&J's YouTube channel
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