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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14753

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Baar A.
Bristol-Myers Engages Chinese With Hepatitis B
Marketing Daily 2008 Dec 5

Full text:

Chronic hepatitis B affects Chinese Americans at a much higher rate than other ethnic groups in the United States. With that in mind, Bristol-Myers Squibb is looking to reach this target by speaking to them in their own language: Mandarin.

The Princeton, N.J. company has created two television spots for airing on Chinese-language television networks in New York City. The commercials are the company’s first non-English-language campaign in the United States, says company representative Christi Barnett.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb has made an ongoing commitment to raise awareness of hepatitis B,” Barnett tells Marketing Daily. “With our commitment to education, we felt [Chinese-Americans] were an important target to get this message out to.”

Each of the two television spots spotlights a chronic hepatitis B patient speaking directly to the camera. One spot features Kum Ming Ho, a swimming coach who was diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago. While he says having the disease hasn’t been easy, he has learned to live with it with the help of doctors.

“This disease is like a friend of mine I’ve had for many years,” he says. “I have no fears.” He encourages others who have the disease to talk with their doctor because “young or old, you may put your life at risk.” The second spot features Hui En Wang, a language teacher who contracted the disease from her mother and whose cousin died at 34 from it.

According to the Hepatitis B Initiative, about half of the 1.25 million cases of chronic hepatitis B in the United States occur in people of Asian or Pacific Island descent. Chinese Americans are five to six more times more likely to develop liver cancer from hepatitis B than Caucasian Americans. Korean Americans are eight times more likely and Vietnamese Americans are 13 times more likely to develop liver cancer as a result of the disease than Caucasians, according to the group. Many are immigrants who contracted the disease in other parts of the world, but have been asymptomatic.

While the commercials are currently scheduled to run only in Mandarin in New York, it’s likely they will be extended to other languages and markets in 2009, Barnett says. “We definitely want to provide the information to other groups,” she says. “The goal is to extend it in other languages.”


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909