ELITE Disrupter Derek Rieder of AbbVie

Derek Rieder

Senior Marketing Manager




Shining a Light on the Undiagnosed

As Derek Rieder helped to prove, sometimes you can’t shy away from the taboo—you have to address it directly. Patients don’t like talking about their poop. But really, who does? The only problem: If patients are uncomfortable talking about their stool-related symptoms then they may not be properly diagnosed. So Derek and his team targeted both patients and HCPs and told them, Don’t Keep A Lid On It. And to bring that point home: The message was plastered right on a toilet lid in the campaign’s visual.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is a chronic, often debilitating condition, with no cure. It’s also often undiagnosed. The non-specific symptoms of EPI mimic other GI conditions such as IBS, Celiac Disease, or Crohn’s Disease. And since awareness of EPI among HCPs is low, they often fail to ask the right questions to distinguish EPI from other diagnoses and patients feel too embarrassed to bring them up themselves. This causes patients to be treated like a ping pong ball bouncing between the primary care physician and gastroenterologist and back again, as they fail to make an accurate diagnosis. Hence, the need for both parties to Don’t Keep A Lid On It.

Derek and his team designed a campaign to disrupt HCP heuristics resulting in EPI being raised higher within an HCP’s GI differential diagnosis—helping more than 150,000 patients in 2014 to receive treatment for EPI. But of course, that was only half of the story. Derek and his team also weren’t afraid to live on the edge—using provocative language and imagery to encourage patients to talk frankly about the GI symptoms associated with EPI (gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea).

The call to action did not go unnoticed: A 13-week pilot radio program increased traffic to the disease state awareness website (identifyEPI.com) by more than 345%. And overall, the campaign led to a 21% incremental lift in market NRx and contributed to driving a historic pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) market growth rate of 7.4%.

But most importantly, it inspired patients nationwide suffering with GI symptoms to talk openly about their symptoms. And many of them finally got the diagnosis they’ve been searching for in EPI.


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