ELITE Disrupter Stephen Cannata of Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC

Stephen Cannata

Director, Marketing

Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC


Bringing NSAID Risks to Light

Stephen Cannata, MBA is that type of healthcare marketer who knows it is virtually impossible to question the status quo while being quiet. Which is not to say he is loud—only that the business impact and chatter surrounding his work are even louder. For instance, to better satisfy the unmet informational needs of physicians who prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Steve launched NSAIDilemma, a one-of-a-kind unbranded campaign and website.

While this physician population was not new to educational initiatives, Steve’s use of “segmented drivers”—unique perspectives and considerations from influencing specialties—was indeed novel for the category. Cardiologists, gastroenterologists, primary care specialists, and even emergency room physicians described their distinct experiences with NSAID-associated risks, and each point of view was leveraged to influence the other. Moreover, the types of messages targeted physicians received—focusing on the benefits of prescribing lower doses of NSAIDs to minimize risk of serious side effects—were completely new for the NSAID marketplace.

Within the first four months of launch, 50% of target HCPs were driven to the site and demonstrated high back-end engagement, including over 12,500 page views, 2,677 video views, almost 500 resource downloads, and 149 social shares.

Additionally, Steve developed a dose-savings calculator to help determine how many milligrams of product physicians might save over the lifetime of a patient to minimize systemic exposure. He also leveraged peer-polling functionality to communicate prevailing and up-and-coming clinical opinions about the value of prescribing NSAIDs at low doses. And he launched the Hi/Lo app, a rep/physician engagement tool that uses gamification to drive home key messages about the risks and consequences of NSAID use at high doses.

“In a therapeutic space where habit and lack of innovation tend to drive the use of potentially dangerous, high-dose medicines, Steve made it his personal mission to question the current market belief that NSAIDs are safe at high doses, when they clearly are not,” says Greg Pyszczymuka, Iroko’s Executive Director of Channel Strategy and Access Programs. “His unique projects seek to ensure that both physicians and patients internalize the unacceptable consequences of high-dose NSAID prescribing and consumption.”


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