Pfizer heads back to school with Trumenba vaccination campaign

Teaching kids to share is usually a parental goal, but a new ad from Pfizer may have some parents rethinking the parameters.

The first campaign for meningococcal group B vaccine Trumenba highlights the dangers of MenB, which can be spread through habits common among teens--including kissing and sharing drinks and food.

The TV ad shows a mother in the hospital with her stricken son, asking “how did we get here?” The ad then goes back through events earlier in evening showing the son sharing food and drinks with several different friends at a party and kissing a girl.

The spot, which started running last week, is airing in the selected cities of Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C. and will also air in physicians’ offices across the country. And its timing was no accident: MenB is responsible for up to half of all U.S. meningococcal disease cases in 17-23 year olds, a Pfizer spokeswoman told FiercePharmaMarketing by email, and in recent years campuses across the country have suffered outbreaks.

“The campaign was designed to reach parents of teens and young adults during the summer and back-to-school season, when many parents are thinking about steps they can take to help protect their child’s health, including vaccination,” she said.

Trumenba is one of two vaccinations to protect against MenB, along with GlaxoSmithKline’s Bexsero. But last year, the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) stopped short of granting the pair universal recommendation. The vaccines are recommended for young adults ages 16 to 23, with a preferred age of 16 to 18, which means that doctors decide on an individual basis whether to vaccinate their patients against MenB.

That narrow backing--which limited sales potential--was not what Pfizer and GSK were hoping for. Trumenba recorded $29 million in sales in 2015, up from $16 million in 2014, according to EvaluatePharma.

- watch the ad on

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