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Pan-European message testing for the launch of a breakthrough treatment for SMA

02 September 2020

Cambre was approached in early 2020 by a major international pharmaceutical company that was expecting EC approval for an innovative therapy for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).  SMA is a rare, neuromuscular disease, and the leading genetic cause of infant mortality.  Up to 600 infants are born with SMA in Europe each year.  The company was seeking communications and advocacy support to create greater awareness and recognition of the socio-economic benefits of a value-based healthcare approach, and its appropriateness for the registration and reimbursement of its therapy in European markets. 

Cambre developed a value narrative that showed the positive and cost-effective transformation the treatment could bring to the current management of the disease.  This narrative served as a reference document to conduct one-to-one  “message testing” with top healthcare experts and policymakers from key European countries.  The message testing had to be organised within a very short timeframe as the EC approval was imminent.

Thanks to its extensive network, Cambre was able to organise a pan-European panel of eight experts (including two former EU health ministers).  The panel also consisted of a former Reuters journalist, a patient organisation representative and a former member of the Committee for Human Medicine Products.

The objectives of the message testing were:

  • To test the clarity, credibility and effectiveness of the messages on the new therapy.
  • To identify information gaps, areas of contention and suggestions for further enhancement.
  • To seek recommendations for PA and PR strategies.

The interviews were all held virtually due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The situation worked in our favour because top experts who normally have very busy agendas were more readily available.

Cambre produced a comprehensive report of the main findings and made a series of recommendations which were subsequently incorporated in a toolkit of communications materials.