It’s rare for a pharmaceutical company to develop a mobile app that includes brand name drug information. So, when I learned that Boehringer recently released a GILOTRIF branded iPhone/iPad app for people who may have NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer), I immediately downloaded it.
Although I luckily do not have NSCLC and have not been prescribed GILOTRIF, I was able to open up the app and use it (see the opening screen on the left). That’s why I say this app may be for patients prescribed the drug and who need support. But it could also be targeted to newly-diagnosed patients who may wish to learn more about GILOTRIF (i.e., it’s a DTC ad just like a drug.com website).
The official name of the app is “My Treatment Guide” and you can find it on the iTunes app store here.
Boehringer has taken pains NOT to mention the indication for GILOTRIF in the iTunes description. Perhaps they read my blog post about Pfizer’s LIPITOR app, which mentioned its indication but did not provide the necessary fair balance (i.e., major side effects) as required by FDA (read “Pfizer’s Short-lived LIPITOR Branded Mobile App“).
I say “necessary” because, IMHO, iTunes pages that mention brand name drugs qualify as prescription drug DTC ads that must comply with FDA regulations regarding fair balance (ie, it must include Important Safety Information or ISI).
So, kudos to Boehringer for that. I have a few more interesting observations about this app that you may be interested in reading.
Although some news stories about the “My Treatment Guide” app say it is intended “for patients prescribed its cancer drug Gilotrif,” there is no requirement that users verify they have been prescribed the drug. Consequently, I view this app equally as a promotional tool and as a “patient support” tool.
Mostly, however, it’s a drug.com website posing as a useful mobile app for patients, which is obvious just by looking at this menu screen:
|Click on image for an enlarged view.|
The most “useful” stuff is in the “Learn about NSCLC” section. It also has diary, appointments, and contacts sections. The diary asks “How am I doing today?” where I’m urged to “express how you are feeling today on a scale of 1 to 5.” Now that’s what I call useful – NOT!
P.S. Unlike Pfizer’s LIPITOR app, BI’s GILOTRIF app includes direct links to the package insert AND important safety information at the top of every screen!