Case Study

Introducing Innovation

In the realm of medical innovation, few discoveries hold the promise of transformative change like the development of a medication capable of regrowing cartilage in individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis. For decades, the prevailing approach to this debilitating condition had been centered around pain management or invasive surgeries with uncertain outcomes. However, a major pharmaceutical company had embarked on a groundbreaking journey, pioneering a new category of treatment aimed at addressing the root cause of cartilage degradation. As they approached the pivotal Phase II Trial pre-launch, they faced a formidable challenge: how to effectively communicate the significance of their innovation to both physicians and patients, who were yet unfamiliar with this novel approach.

The Problem
A major pharmaceutical company was in the midst of a Phase II Trial pre-launch for an innovative medication that helps regrow cartilage in people experiencing knee osteoarthritis. Prior to the development of this drug, there had been no way to address the underlying root cause of the cartilage degradation, and the only available treatment was pain management – or painful and expensive knee surgery. Because the company had created an entirely new category of treatment for osteoarthritis, there was nothing like it on the market – and therefore, no understanding yet about how to talk about it to either physicians or patients. 

Our Approach
We conducted an online survey across 6 countries to understand how doctors and patients talk about this category/condition. We surveyed 300 physicians across three specialties (GPs, Orthopedists and Rheumatologists) and 2,000 patients – some of whom had had osteoarthritis-related knee replacements, and some who had not. Areas of questioning included disease and treatment experience, as well as hopes for future treatments.

The Solution
We learned that physicians are aware that cartilage loss plays a significant role in osteoarthritis and that so far there is no way to reverse the damage; therefore, they focus on pain management while remaining actively on the lookout for new treatment options. Patients believe that the condition will eventually improve on its own and that until then, pain is inevitable. Our research helped provide our client and their communications agency with the springboard for a communications campaign that successfully explained the relationship between pain and cartilage loss, and why this medication is a game-changer for both physicians and their patients. 

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