Ocrelizumab Direct-to-Consumer Advertising—What Clinicians Need to Know

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Ocrelizumab

A new direct-to-consumer (DTC) campaign has been launched for the MS treatment ocrelizumab (Ocrevus; Genentech, South San Francisco, CA). Although the advertisements may resonate with all generations of people living with MS, this campaign specifically targets the millennial generation (those who are in their 20s and 30s in 2019). These are the people most likely to have MS onset and new diagnosis today.

Despite clear evidence that initiating treatment as early in the disease course as possible, studies show that approximately 30% of people with MS do not begin treatment within the first 2 years of diagnosis. Reasons for this are varied and include the sense that treating the illness will become life-consuming and life-changing. The campaign seeks to counter this and encourage people newly diagnosed with MS to be proactive in their care and talk with their doctor about treatment options that best fit their needs and lifestyle. 

This advertising campaign shows individuals with and without obvious disability for a realistic depiction of living with MS but suggests that individuals don’t have to give up control of their lives to the disease. Instead, they can “meet” a treatment that gives them back control. 

The commercial is airing on major media outlets and can also be viewed here

Susan Begelman, MD, vice president, Spectrum Medical Unit, US Medical Affairs, Neurology, Non-malignant Hematology, Influenza, Established Products at Genentech said, “We hope that this advertising will raise awareness that MS can cause disability while empowering people who are newly diagnosed to talk with their health care team about their goals openly and for clinicians to better understand their patients’ goals of treatment. We also want to make sure that clinicians are aware that early treatment is now shown to delay disability progression, enabling them to better educate their patients on the benefits of starting and adhering to treatment.” 

Dr. Begelman also noted that the campaign was initiated because the data and clinical experience with ocrelizumab is established, patient access programs are in place, and enough clinician education has occurred for most to be able to answer patients’ questions about ocrelizumab readily. At the same time, education is ongoing for any clinician who wants or needs more information about ocrelizumab, available on the health care provider website for the drug.  

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