A fortune 500 pharmaceutical company hired SFI to help defeat state legislation that would have imposed restrictive medical formularies in the Medicaid program. The restriction would have prohibited many of the company’s products from being sold in the enormous Florida Medicaid market.
SFI targeted the Latino community in South and Central Florida to help defeat this legislation. The SFI team conducted surveys in both markets and developed an aggressive grassroots campaign. The message focused on government bureaucrats interfering with the relationship between patients and their doctors. The survey showed that the most powerful message was that doctors would no longer be making key decisions on what medicines to prescribe to their patients – but rather the decision would be made by government bureaucrats. SFI produced a 60-second radio ad that focused on a female patient complaining about a government bureaucrat, with no medical background, making a medical decision for her doctor.
At the same time, a press conference was held with representatives from several doctor groups and patient rights coalitions. A follow-up media event was held with the leaders of organizations from specific diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes who opposed the legislation. These media events continued to emphasize the message of the danger of restrictive formularies that only focus on giving patients cheaper alternatives.
When the radio ad hit the airwaves, the local state representative offices were inundated with phone calls demanding that they oppose the legislation. Prior to the radio ad going live, SFI contracted with a phone bank to begin calls to encourage individuals to call their state elected officials and oppose the legislation. Due to the effectiveness of the radio ad, and the thousands of calls that were organically generated to state officials, the phone bank operation was called off. Days later, the legislation was withdrawn after the South Florida delegation publicly opposed it.