Pharma knows all too well the importance of both disease and science coverage. Keytruda, the innovative cancer treatment from Merck, is a great example of leveraging broader media story lines to elevate a drug brand. Immunotherapy, the underlying science behind Keytruda, has captured not only trade coverage but broad feature-length articles in mainstream media channels. With recent innovations in cancer immunology, the media appetite couldn’t be more ideal for Keytruda.
Keytruda closed the July media cycle off -1 point at a 53 media rating, well above the sector average of 45. Keytruda is currently ranked #10 in the crowded prescription drug brands sector, down -2 positions over June, but up +2 over the prior year. Media momentum has been on a downward cycle for the last 6 months and the brand’s media ratings have almost exclusively come from traditional print and broadcast channels.
Positive sentiment is strong at 20% with no sign of negative story lines in the July time period.
The underlying science of immunotherapy is where the heavy media volumes are. Immunotherapy is a fairly complex topic to drive through broad traditional media channels, but that’s exactly what has occurred. The recent multi-part headline series in The New York Times along with the therapy’s close association with former president Jimmy Carter’s recovery from cancer are evidence of how the media has brought the topic to a broader mainstream audience with positive stories on combating cancer.