Innerstate (Movie)

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in February 2007 the film Innerstate, produced by the drug company Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was premiered at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in New York. "Innerstate aims to elevate the voices, stories and successes of patients, as well as to broaden awareness of immune-related diseases," the company media release stated. It also stated that the project had support from "national and local patient advocacy groups". [1]

The film is being screened in cinemas free of charge. Centocor makes Remicade, a patented drug that costs $US18,000 to $21,000 a year. [2]

Reuters reported that Centocor PR director Michael Parks "interviewed 40 patients before selecting the three portrayed in the film. He then turned the project over to producer-director Chris Valentino, who incorporated interviews with the patients, their doctors and their families." [3]

Promoting the Documentary

In mid-February 2007, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported that the healthcare PR firm Dorland Public Relations had been hired to promote the movie and that "at least 14 U.S. cities will host movie screenings, complete with appearances by 'local medical experts and support groups, along with the film's patients.' Dorland's Meghan Hindman handled publicity for the premiere. The film was also supported with a multimedia news release distributed by MultiVu. [4]

Parks told O'Dwyer's that "it's a very powerful message to hear it through the voice of the patients. These diseases are quite complex and not easily explained in a 30- or 60-second second ad. We wanted to find something that would give us enough real estate to have a discussion." [5] Parks declined to mention the cost of the film but told O'Dwyer's that it was less than the cost of a full scale direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.

The Film

In its media release Centocor stated that the film provides an "insight into the 'inner states' of three everyday adults facing chronic, life-altering inflammatory diseases. As they confront daily challenges and life’s experiences, they tell the emotional stories of their journeys toward living 'normal' lives in a film that is sure to touch the hearts of all viewers, including the millions of Americans who suffer from these conditions." [6] "By artfully striking a balance between entertainment and education, the film paints an intimate portrait of their lives and provides powerful inspiration to anyone, especially those whose lives have been touched by chronic illness," the media release stated.

The media release featured an endorsement from Dr. Alan Menter from the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas. Menter has been the dermatologist to one of the patients featured in the film.

Reporting in the New York Times, Stephanie Saule wrote that "the 58-minute film ... is an unusual form of soft-pedal marketing of a blockbuster drug, Remicade. The documentary never specifically mentions Remicade, or the product's maker, Centocor, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. Instead, it focuses on several of the autoimmune diseases Remicade is approved to treat: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. ... The film, directed by Chris Valentino and produced by the Creative Group, is the latest twist on a business trend toward blending advertising and entertainment." [7]

Response to the Documentary

Dr. Jerry Avorn, a Harvard University researcher told Reuters that "this is a whole new dimension in direct-to-consumer advertising." Avorn, who is the author of Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks and Costs of Prescription Drugs "These are very good drugs, and used correctly, they can make a big impact. But I'm old-fashioned enough to think whether or not to use a drug like Remicade ought to be the decision of the doctor and not because a patient saw a movie," he said. [8]

Patient Groups Linked to by Centocor

Film Website

Website: http://www.myinnerstate.com/

Other SourceWatch Resources

References

  1. Centocor, "Centocor Rolls Out the Red Carpet For Patients With the Documentary Innerstate: Disease Awareness Makes Its Way to the Big Screen in First-of-Its-Kind Documentary", Media Release, February 14, 2007.
  2. "Doctors raise doubts about J&J drug film: The documentary explores inflammatory diseases, but some experts say the movie may be self-serving", Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2007. (This is a Reuters story).
  3. "Doctors raise doubts about J&J drug film: The documentary explores inflammatory diseases, but some experts say the movie may be self-serving", Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2007. (This is a Reuters story).
  4. "MNR Examples: Recently Featured", accessed May 2007.
  5. "Centocor Uses Documentary For PR", O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), February 15, 2007.
  6. Centocor, "Centocor Rolls Out the Red Carpet For Patients With the Documentary Innerstate: Disease Awareness Makes Its Way to the Big Screen in First-of-Its-Kind Documentary", Media Release, February 14, 2007.
  7. Stephanie Saule, "Drug Gets a Cameo in a Film Backed by Its Maker", New York Times, February 21, 2007. (sub req'd) (This article has been republished as Drug maker produces documentary on chronic illness: Firm's documentary explores 3 autoimmune diseases", International Herald Tribune, February 21, 2007.
  8. "Doctors raise doubts about J&J drug film: The documentary explores inflammatory diseases, but some experts say the movie may be self-serving", Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2007. (This is a Reuters story).
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