Amgen migraine advocacy project wins trophy at the Healthcare Asia Pharma Awards | Healthcare Asia Magazine

Amgen migraine advocacy project wins trophy at the Healthcare Asia Pharma Awards

An online seminar gathered specialists, influencers, journalists, patients, and caregivers toend the stigma surrounding migraine.

Millions of people around the world suffer from migraine. Unfortunately, a cure for migraine is yet to be developed, so its symptoms can only be managed. Migraine has no clear causes either, but genetics and environment may play a role. In Japan alone, approximately 8.4 million people are forced to live with migraine, but because many people do not get a diagnosis or the treatment they need, the actual number is probably higher.

Despite being a serious, debilitating neurological disease, migraine is hardly recognised as a condition that requires proper medical intervention. In Japan, there exists a stigma toward migraine and its sufferers, wherein migraines are downplayed as “just a headache.” More than 70% of patients with migraine have never visited a hospital for treatment, and about 50% try to treat the disease on their own with over-the-counter medications. And with the ongoing pandemic, many patients are even more reluctant to visit hospitals. 

Recognising the important opportunity to contribute to patient quality of life, Amgen set out to create the Migraine Control College, a platform to support and encourage patients with migraine, even under the current health crisis. Amgen is deeply honored to win the award for Patient Advocacy Program of the Year at the Healthcare Asia Pharma Awards for shedding light on migraine and supporting patients. Presented by Healthcare Asia, the Healthcare Asia Pharma Awards honours the top pharmaceutical companies in Asia with the most innovative and unique initiatives that enhanced their company's business.

In partnership with the Japanese Headache Society (JHS) and Japan Patient Advocacy Coalition (JPAC), Amgen launched the Migraine Control College, an online seminar and platform where migraine specialists, physicians, and patient advocates deliver lectures on how to best control migraine and address the questions and concerns of patients with migraine. The Migraine Control College aims to educate patients and their families, and friends, and to eliminate the stigma around migraine. 

At the first College, female influencers with migraine spoke about their experiences, with the aim of accelerating peer-to-peer communications and reaching new, diverse audience segments by creating opportunities to discuss migraine in an everyday context. This influencer messaging reached over 410,000 followers. 

Amgen also invited over 600 media outlets to the College. Additionally, College lecturers were present on the first day to deepen their understanding of unmet needs in migraine treatment and how patients suffer from stigma. As a result, the event garnered more than 2.2 million impressions through approximately 80 generated articles.

The second College was aimed at patients, their families, and caregivers. Amgen encouraged patients to record their migraine using Amgen’s Migraine Diary, to track their migraine pattern and be proactive in controlling their headaches, a crucial first step in demonstrating how migraine can be managed. Amgen also introduced the official social media LINE account so that patients can be part of an online community where they can gain the necessary knowledge about migraine and learn about other patients' stories.

Thanks to the College, patients say they feel supported and stated that they would recommend it to their friends and family who struggle with the same issue. The College encouraged a behavioral change in patients in how they manage migraine, with over 70% of participants saying they will record their headache using the Migraine Diary. The overwhelmingly positive response to the College is a testimony to Amgen’s commitment to helping patients suffering from serious illnesses.

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