Viatris and Theravance highlight freedom in new campaign for COPD med Yupelri

The first DTC ad campaign for Viatris and Theravance’s COPD nebulizer therapy Yupelri aims to show the freedom of the once-daily treatment.

In a newly debuted TV ad, an older woman celebrates her birthday with a few other people—a man, presumably her partner, and another couple. A flashback shows her using the Yupelri nebulizer system earlier in the day, leaving her to spend the day as she likes. The campaign tagline is “Because every moment matters.”

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When Yupelri was first approved in November 2018, Mylan, now Viatris, focused on educating healthcare professionals about the new COPD treatment option, using sales rep in-person meetings and digital ads before tackling DTC advertising.

The centerpiece of the new effort is a TV commercial launched this month, airing on cable and network channels in specific U.S. markets; as well as print and digital to both consumers and HCPs. 

Why is Viatris using TV for a small-target patient group? Research showed it was the best way to reach them.

“We know that our patient population gravitates toward TV as a key medium to learn about COPD treatments,” Kumar Subramaniam, Viatris’ head of U.S. brands, said, in an email interview.

Produced during 2020, the ad has a COVID-19 vibe without overtly highlighting the pandemic—a small birthday gathering, although no masks, for instance. Filming required safety protocols and policies used to protect the actors involved, along with virtual mechanisms when possible.

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Yupelri is a long-acting muscarinic antagonist and the first once-a-day nebulized maintenance medicine for COPD. Mylan and Theravance share profit and loss on Yupelri in a 65% to 35% split, respectively.

Sales of Yupelri topped $37 million for the third quarter, up 124% over the same quarter in 2020, rebounding after a dip during the second quarter.

While the nebulizer delivery could be a barrier to uptake, 9% of COPD patients or about 800,000 already use nebulizers for ongoing maintenance therapy and even more, about 41%, use nebulizers at least occasionally, according to Theravance.