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Gastric-Band Maker Teams Up with YouTube

8 Jul, 2009 Response This Week

NEW YORK – Ethicon Endo-Surgery’s Realize, an adjustable gastric band placed around the stomach that restricts food intake, had branded its own YouTube channel, reports

“Video is such a powerful medium for people who are having this type of surgery,” says Mary Ann Belliveau, managing director of Google Health Vertical. “What the channel does is give the patients a home for this, so they can get a more thorough experience, specifically with the company and the brand.”

Medical device direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is on the rise. As a result, AdvaMed, the trade association for medical device manufacturers, issued new guidelines in March. For the most part, device marketing follows the same FDA regulations as the pharmaceutical market.

“Overall, the importance is to be sure that you have truthful, non-misleading balanced risk information, regardless of media,” says Khatereh Calleja, associate vice president of technology and regulatory affairs at AdvaMed.

The Realize band’s YouTube channel went live on June 20 and has received about 8,000 channel views. Ethicon also has a branded site for the band, where patients can learn more about the surgery or join the online support program. The YouTube Web site shows the diary of patients, including simulating implantation of the band and explaining how to financially prepare for the surgery.

YouTube has seen a growth in user-generated and professionally made health-related videos. In an annual study on DTC drug advertising, 77 percent of consumers say they search online for information about a specific medical condition, and 48 percent search for information on a prescription medicine.

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