A New Treatment for Chronic Health Syndrome

The XYZ Drug Company

Internal Memo
August 29, 2014
CONFIDENTIAL
For internal use only

AntiRobustium™ Marketing Strategy

Introduction

With the anticipated FDA approval of AntiRobustium™ (arsenic trioxide), the first and so far only treatment for CHS (Chronic Health Syndrome) will soon be available to the general public (prescription only). As with the introduction of drugs for other newly branded syndromes (e.g. Restless Leg Syndrome, Short Eyelash Syndrome, and Low-T), it is imperative that the public as well as medical professionals not only be made aware of the serious nature of the target syndrome (CHS), but also appreciate the unique nature and high success rate of the marketed treatment (AntiRobustium™), while at the same time minimizing the emotional impact of potential adverse effects of treatment. CHS poses greater than average challenges in this regard, as the public generally doesn’t consider “health” to be a medical problem. It is important to sell to the consumer the notion that CHS is insidious, debilitating, and, up until this point, difficult to treat. Fortunately though, relief is on its way.

The Hidden Epidemic of CHS

CHS is a relatively rare syndrome in the American population, and epidemiologically has the unusual and counterintuitive property of having decreasing prevalence with age. Although periods of Acute Health can occur fairly frequently in people with chronic illnesses, the long periods of unmitigated Health that are seen in victims of Chronic Health Syndrome are very unusual. These long periods (remarkably lasting up to years in some rare cases) are the striking feature of CHS. Probably due to the low prevalence of this condition, it has not been well-described or studied in the past. Particularly discouraging for us in the pharmaceutical industry, for a long time it was assumed that there was no feasible drug treatment for CHS. Of course all this has changed now with the development of AntiRobustium™!

The Heartbreak of CHS

Sufferers of CHS rarely spontaneously seek medical therapy. They may occasionally come up with weak reasons for seeking medical help, such as “getting a physical” or “having routine screening,” but in general doctor visits are few and far between. Because of this reluctance to seek help for their condition, many doctors are unfamiliar with diagnosing and treating these patients. One telltale sign of the CHS patient is a short or absent list of medications. While the average person seeing a physician will have a medication list of 5-15 drugs, patients with CHS may be taking no medications, or may be taking ineffective medications, such as vitamins, often used as a form of self-medication out of guilt that taking absolutely no medications is odd or even bizarre. This guilt about being healthy in an unhealthy world results in significant psychological stress, with sufferers often feeling like outcasts at social gatherings, unable to compare notes with their friends regarding their Low-T, chronic back pain, or restless legs. Other characteristics of patients with CHS include lower than average weight, excessive exercise (often more than 5 hours a week), extreme diets low in fat and sugar, abnormally elevated state of well-being, and a pink or rosy skin tone. Paradoxically, despite these unusual signs and symptoms, lab testing is often completely normal. In fact, no specific test has been developed that can definitively diagnose CHS, though a diagnostic score has been developed and shows promise. For physician education, XYZ drug reps are encouraged to inform physicians that for all practical purposes a likely diagnosis of CHS can be made if a patient is taking fewer than 3 prescription medications and any one of the signs or symptoms mentioned above is present.

Breakthough! A New Use for an Old Drug

AntiRobustium™ (arsenic trioxide) is not new to the pharmaceutical world. Originally developed as insecticides and then later used to treat syphillis, arsenic compounds have not found much medicinal use in modern times. Until now! AntiRobustium™is the solution to the dilemma the pharmaceutical industry has had in finding an agent useful in the treatment of CHS, in order to monetize this small, but significant segment of the population. The problem that the industry has had in finding a drug for these underserved patients is that most drugs developed up to this point have had both healthful and healthful effects. Due to this dual action, most drugs will cause some (even if only minor) improvement in Health and this will not work in a patient with CHS, as these patients are already healthy by definition. AntiRobustium™ is the first drug to come to market with absolutely no healthful effects, while still having multiple side-effects. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) show that over 99% of CHS patients taking AntiRobustium™ within a 4 week period develop skin pallor, generalized malaise, gastrointestinal complaints, abdominal pain, cardiac problems, and, rarely, death. In the landmark UNHEALTH Study (roUtiNe use of antirobustium™ in HEALTHy compared to unhealthy patients Study) regular usage of AntiRobustium™ at a 5 mg BID dose resulted in no significant difference in morbidity and mortality compared with a control population of patients with end-stage renal disease, terminal cancer, and hepatic failure. These results are impressive because the comparison group was particularly unhealthy and yet the results were similar to the results of the earlier MAKEMESICK Study (Multicenter Antirobustium™ Keeps Everyone Mostly Equal in SICKness Study) which was criticized in some corners because of the relative health of the comparison group (patients with Restless Leg Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Low-T). A meta-analysis of these 2 studies, the earlier RCTs, and 5 studies using 30 lab rats each did result in P values < 10-18 for a dystherapeutic effect that was convincing enough to get the drug through the FDA committee, with approval imminent.

Marketing

As usual direct marketing to physicians will take a high priority, mostly concentrating on bagel breakfasts, burrito and Chinese food lunches, with occasional big dinner presentations. Selected physicians will serve as members of our Speaker Panel, generally the same physicians who have served on all our other Speaker Panels. Slide sets will be provided of course. XYZ reps will distribute reprints of the major studies (UNHEALTH, MAKEMESICK, etc.) along with iPads preloaded with our Poor Healthy Joe multimedia educational presentation. As always NO DISTRIBUTION OF COMPANY LOGO PENS WILL BE PERMITTED!! SUCH DISTRIBUTION WILL BE CONSIDERED GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL!!

A major push will be aimed at the consumer. Not many people have heard of CHS. We need to change that. A good parallel is that with the Low-T compaign. A few years ago no one would have known what was meant by Low-T. Now someone can be considered stupid if they don’t know what it is. We need to create the same situation with CHS. Our TV marketing department is already working on ads featuring Poor Healthy Joe. An example: Poor Healthy Joe is at a cocktail party, standing in the corner, while a group of beautiful young women (professional models) are discussing their diabetes, cancer diagnoses, and other chronic conditions, when Joe’s rival, call him Ill Fred (another professional model) comes over and starts telling them about the low back pain he got from his old football injury. As the women fawn over Fred, Joe decides to do something about his Chronic Health Syndrome. He starts AntiRobustium™. A month later he is back at the same cocktail party with the same professional models, where he is now the center of attention, the women remarking on how pale and sick he looks. While the viewer is distracted by the curvaceous models, the narrator in super fast-foward mode rattles off the list of side-effects of the drug, and the commercial ends with Joe smiling due to his attaining the ill-health that had eluded him in the past. Audience testing of this commercial has been very positive, with less than 1% of the audience able to list any of the side-effects of the drug after seeing the commercial. Other high production value commercials featuring Joe and his chronically healthy friends (Jogging Judy, Vegan Valerie, and others) are in the works.

Last Words

We anticipate a healthy market for AntiRobustium™ (no pun intended)! Once we get formal FDA approval (it should be within the month) the above campaign will be launched at full throttle. And finally remember to use our new slogan: “Too healthy?  Fight back with AntiRobustium™!

About mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

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