A tremendous amount of publicity has raised awareness among Americans that cheaper drugs can be obtained from online Canadian pharmacies. The fact is, however, the drugs sold by these outlets are rarely the same regulator-approved products Canadian customers get, creating health risks for American patients who could be getting dangerous fake drugs. As for the legitimate products, too much American commerce could threaten the supply available to Canadians. An effort to combat these issues has won first place in the “PR or Media Relations Campaign” category of the Health Care PR and Marketing division of the PR Daily Awards.
ASOP Global—whose goal is to protect consumers worldwide by working to ensure safe access to medications—worked with agency Scott Circle to push a media narrative that Canadian health organizations oppose U.S. drug importation plans and apply mounting pressure to prompt a public statement from the Canadian government committing to protect Canada’s drug supply.
Over the course of a year, the communications team developed a list of reporters who covered the issue, maintaining regular contact and delivering key information, including research that showed 59% of consumers oppose importation after learning the facts about the dangers of online Canadian pharmacies.
They also counseled on the timing of a stakeholder letter to the Canadian Health Minister, releasing the letter just before Senator Bernie Sanders arrived with a patient caravan, producing media coverage of the issue while refuting Sanders’ claims. After the caravan left, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a “Safe Importation Action Plan.”
The campaign delivered nearly 70 placements that amplified the message. Ultimately Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to protect Canada’s drug supply.
Congratulations to Kellie Murphy, Elizabeth Harmon and Matheson Sharp.