Monday, June 30, 2008

A drug company marketing tool or honest attempt to fundraise?

Or both?

Arimidex, a prescription drug for breast cancer has created a site called the “Celebration Chain”. According to their promotion, the “Celebration Chain is a way to honor special women in our lives who have overcome or are fighting breast cancer...”. Users create a virtual doll in honor of someone they know, then send (spam?) it to everyone they know.

For every doll created, Arimidex donates $1 to “a breast cancer charity”, up to $25,000. But no where on the site do they disclose which charity; and for all we know, they could consider their R&D team a charitable unit. Arimidex also fails to mention if they donate the revenue or proceeds from the program, i.e. do they take marketing and website development costs out of the amount donated?

My last concern is that the dolls are gender specific, and of course only female (skinny and busty females to be exact). And although most cases of breast cancer occur in females, there are still approximately 2,000 men diagnosed each year.

Putting cynicism behind, this may be a genuine attempt for a drug company to give back to the cancer community. We just want them to be transparent about their motives.

1 comment:

Laurie Casaday said...

I am a senior manager of corporate affairs, oncology, at AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company in Wilmington, Delaware, and would like to provide some information in response to the June 30 entry about the Celebration Chain web site.

In December 2007, AstraZeneca donated $25,000 to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. LBBC received Charity Navigator’s four stars designation–its highest rating–for fiscal management. For more information on Living Beyond Breast Cancer, please visit www.lbbc.org.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
Sincerely,
Laurie Casaday
AstraZeneca, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, Oncology