Eight lakh people die every year in India because of smoking-related problems. With the hope to arrest the habit of smoking, Glaxo India, an affiliate of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, on May 30, 2001 launched Zyban. Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) - a nicotine-free prescription drug - is the first oral treatment for smoking cessation. And the company is endorsing the net to achieve its objective.
Two months after launch, it has tied up with goodhealthnyou.com to co-brand the website in an effort to promote the cause of smoking cessation. On August, 1, 2001, was launched zybangoodhealthnyou.com. "We think that the net is the best medium to reach across to thousands and lakhs of smokers throughout India and help them quit smoking," says Ravi Limaye, general manager, sales and marketing, Glaxo India.
The website www.zybangoodhealthnyou.com, provides information on Zyban along with tips on how to quit smoking. It also shows ways in which families could come together to form a support group. It also provides contact details of more than 340 smoking cessation doctors across 50 Indian cities. Additionally, there is a forum where fellow smokers can discuss the problem and build camaraderie. Users can also visit international 'quit smoking' sites through links provided on the site.
goodhealthnyou.com is now the prime platform for Glaxo to disseminate information on Zyban. "The site has a broader goal. It is dedicated to health and consists of a gamut of health-related topics such as fitness, nutrition, therapies etc. Thus people visiting the site will definitely be conscious about their health. We require people to first identify themselves as compulsive smokers, which will eventually help them quit smoking. We are sure that goodhealthnyou.com can help us reach the right audience," explains Ravi Limaye. The company hopes to reach about 50,000 quitters in a year.
The company's claim is backed by the success of the drug overseas. "Zyban has successfully benefited over 5 million people across the world including the US, Europe and Asia Pacific. The success rate in clinical studies is reported to be over 30 per cent, which is the highest (till date) for any smoking cessation treatment," he adds.
Alongside, the company has launched the national Zyban helpline and has been organising smoking cessation camps. Shailesh Ayyangar, vice-president, sales and marketing, Glaxo, says, "To enhance our patient education initiative, we are also providing real-time help at smoking cessation camps." A series of camps were held last week in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. "These 11 camps were conducted by the leading chest physicians in each of these cities. We hope to attract, counsel and treat large numbers of committed quitters, who have never known whom to go to for help and advice." The company is using a helpline - 96-22-005555 - to assist smokers.
Zyban is priced at Rs 40 for a tablet and the entire treatment costs Rs 4,000. The treatment is spread over a period of seven-12 weeks. "A unique feature is that the patient can continue to smoke till the 'Quit Date', which could be any time in the first two weeks of the treatment," says Ravi Limaye
Currently, Zyban is being imported from Australia. All the Glaxo Respiratory products stockists will distribute it across the country.
© agencyfaqs! 2001