Reckitt aims to 'Flip the Script' on cold and flu antibiotic use, partnering with care centers on education

Reckitt is partnering with urgent and primary care centers to help them “Flip the Script” on the use of antibiotics to treat cold and flu symptoms—and pitching its over-the-counter Mucinex products as the appropriate treatments in the process.

The campaign is underpinned by evidence that many patients want to receive antibiotics when they have a cold or flu. A study run by Reckitt found 70% of urgent care patients ask their doctor for an antibiotic. Almost half, 45.7%, of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory diagnoses were from urgent care centers, according to another study quoted by Reckitt.

Reckitt is running the Flip the Script campaign to educate consumers about the inappropriate use of antibiotics and explain why OTC medicines, such as its own line of Mucinex products, are the best option for treating cold and flu symptoms.

To get the message out, Reckitt is giving urgent and primary care centers signs and educational materials and is running a series of educational videos and audio public service announcements online. The work with care centers is focused on states that have a high index of certain antimicrobial-resistant strains and antibiotic prescriptions per population.

The Mucinex materials include “an informative flipped brochure” about antibiotics and OTC medicines that physicians can provide instead of a prescription. Mark Pearson, vice president, marketing for health brands at Reckitt, discussed the thinking behind the brochure and the broader campaign in a statement.

“People don't realize that antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance are a huge societal issue, and they often expect a prescription for antibiotics to help them feel better. That's why Mucinex conceived the 'Flip the Script' campaign: To raise awareness and help patients feel more confident when their doctor recommends an over-the-counter medication to fight cold and flu symptoms,” Pearson said.