Former major leaguers take the field for Amgen’s new multiple myeloma campaign

Hall of Fame baseball legend Dave Winfield stars along with Steve Garvey and Don Baylor Jr. in Amgen's new multiple myeloma effort. (Arturo Pardavila)(Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA (CC BY 2.0)

Retired All-Star major leaguers are busy again this summer pitching for Amgen’s multiple myeloma push. Hall of Famer outfielder Dave Winfield and 10-time All-Star Steve Garvey are both on deck for Amgen’s Myeloma MVP campaign, which looks to help multiple myeloma patients create custom treatment plans.

The two former big leaguers star in TV ads—along with Don Baylor Jr., the son of former All-Star Don Baylor, who lost his 14-year battle with multiple myeloma last year—currently running on the MLB Network. In the TV spots, the trio stand on the infield at a stadium, where Winfield points out that the 30,000 seats around them represent the number of Americans diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year.

The ads will also appear on MLB’s digital platforms, along with banner ads and social media marketing through Amgen’s new oncology-focused handle @AmgenOncology.

Amgen, which sells the multiple myeloma therapy Kyprolis, decided on the campaign after noting that the rare blood cancer has hit home in the baseball community. Several former players and coaches have suffered from the disease, including Baylor, Mel Stottlemyre and Lou Brock.

The pharma company started out working with Don Baylor Sr., but after he died, Don Jr. and his dad's close friend Winfield wanted to do more to continue the elder Baylor’s legacy. Steve Garvey was invited to join after Amgen learned he had lost his father-in-law to the disease.

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“The overall patient experience is very important to us, which is why we wanted to offer a resource to help patients and physicians work together to identify the treatment option that best fits the patient’s needs,” said an Amgen spokeswoman via email.

Robert Cuddihy, Amgen's vice president of U.S. Medical said in a news release, "Based on our own research, we've seen a disconnect between patient goals and treatment decisions. This program provides a tool that helps both patients and physicians create a plan together to better manage their disease."

The Myeloma MVP program is meant to help patients and their doctors work together to outline priorities and treatment goals, from attending an upcoming wedding to continuing a favorite activity during treatment—or just a general goal to live as long as possible.

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Amgen could use a boost in the treatment area. Its drug Kyprolis has yet to live up to its sales potential—although it got good news recently with a label update after data showed the drug in combination with other medicines could cut risk of death and increase survival substantially.

The new label helps position Kyprolis more favorably as a preferred two-drug regimen for multiple myeloma patients. Amgen also reported earlier this year that another one of its drugs, Xgeva, showed success in a phase III study treating skeletal-related events in patients with multiple myeloma.