Indivior tackles opioid addiction stigma, focuses on recovery with first TV campaign

Indivior Sublocade opioid use disorder treatment box
Indivior is launching its first TV campaign for opioid use disorder drug Sublocade, an injectible the company expects to reach blockbuster sales. (Indivior)

Simple everyday tasks that might seem mundane or even boring are at the heart of Indivior’s first TV campaign for injected opioid use disorder treatment Sublocade.

Scenes of walking a dog, going to work and hanging out with family and friends are meant to not only help destigmatize opioid addiction, but also to humanize patients and portray a positive path to recovery, Indivior Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales and Marketing Glenn Tyson said.

While Indivior has done digital search and banner campaigns before, this is the pharma’s first mainstream TV effort. The team looked to research and interactions with thousands of patients and families to create the new work, settling on the idea of normality as the theme.

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“The deep insight that is the underlying element of the campaign is the idea that patients really want to have normality in their recovery. They want to have a normal life and not sacrifice the things maybe you and I might take for granted,” Tyson said.

While the primary targets are the patients themselves, the message will likely resonate with healthcare providers and family members, especially during the holiday season, when there may be more time together and opportunities to discuss treatment with loved ones who may be struggling, he said.

Another reason for the broader reach is that only 20% of patients with opioid use disorder receive any kind of medically assisted treatment. That percentage has grown as the opioid crisis has worsened, but treatment hasn’t kept pace with the problem, Tyson said.

“It’s really the right time to drive broad-based awareness both to destigmatize the disease as well as make people aware there are treatments they can access. We’ve actually seen this in our digital campaigns where there are many patients who were inspired to come in and ask for treatment as a result of seeing those campaigns. Whether they come on to our products or not really is not our primary concern, but rather that they are reaching out, taking action and talking to healthcare providers,” he said.

RELATED: Indivior's former parent ponies up a whopping $1.4B to settle Suboxone marketing probe

Indivior has big expectations for Sublocade, estimating that the treatment will eventually reach $1 billion in peak annual sales. For 2019, Sublocade sales are expected to hit between $60 million and $70 million. Indivior is looking to stem losses from its blockbuster opioid treatment, Suboxone, which a federal appeals court opened to generic competition in February.

The company also faces uncertainty over a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit alleging it presented misleading claims about the benefits of Suboxone Film, which is a newer version of the company’s pill.

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