Case Study : For One Pharmaceutical Group, a PSA Serves Up a Dose of Reality

Company: Purdue Pharma Agency: Fenn Communications Group/The McGinn Group Timeframe: Six months Budget: $2.5 million Potent prescription pain medications have seen their fair share of publicity in recent years, with personalities as large as Rush Limbaugh among the list of abusers, but the message is becoming increasingly urgent: Of the four million+ Americans misusers, the largest increase has been among teenagers who filch the pills from their parents' medicine cabinets. That's why, in late 2003, Purdue Pharma - maker of OxyContin - took a stand in a widespread Public Service Announcement (PSA) against the critical health problem. Although OxyContin was not specifically mentioned in the PSA, appropriately dubbed the "Medicine Cabinet" campaign, it - and other prescription-strength pain-killers' - ability to induce a heroin-like euphoria was the crux of the problem. While its medicinal effects were clear and necessary, teenagers began to take the pills recreationally, believing that they weren't as dangerous as street drugs because they came from a doctor.

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