Mucinex: 'Flip The Script' On Overused Antibiotics

Mucinex, Reckitt’s line of medications for cold and flu symptoms, wants to “Flip the Script” on the prescribing of antibiotics to treat those symptoms.

In fact, such prescriptions can be downright unhealthy. Some 35,000 Americans annually die from Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which is caused by overuse of antibiotics over time, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

With CDC also reporting that Americans get 2.8-million antibiotic-resistant infections annually, that’s a huge audience of people who should know that antibiotics won’t help them with viral infections versus bacterial ones.

The proliferation of urgent care centers is compounding the antibiotics overuse problem. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that 70%of urgent care center patients ask the doctor for an antibiotic, and that 45.7% of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory symptoms come from those centers.



So Mucinex’s new "Flip the Script" campaign, developed with Interpublic’s McCann, is placing educational materials in more than 1,000 urgent care centers and primary care centers -- concentrated in states “most impacted” by AMR, Mark Pearson, Reckitt’s vice president, marketing for health brands, tells Marketing Daily.

“It became clear that partnering with these centers has the potential to make a real impact to patients,” Pearson explains. “This holistic campaign reaches consumers at the point of requesting an antibiotic.” 

Targeted states include West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Calling AMR a serious health crisis, Mucinex says its “Flip the Script” materials are designed to educate consumers about the “widespread inappropriate use of antibiotics currently plaguing the U.S. and the world at large.”

This is hardly an un-branded campaign, though.

Point-of-care materials include a “flipped” brochure, with one cover reading “Let’s flip the script on antibiotic overuse.” When flipped over, Mucinex coupons are added to the line. Inside, the brochure includes info on both AMR and the difference between viral and bacterial infections.

In addition, Pearson adds, “a Mucinex ‘prescription pad’ is available to physicians to ‘prescribe’ or essentially recommend a Mucinex product vs. an antibiotic.”

For a clue as to how Reckitt/Mucinex wants visits to urgent care centers and primary care centers to go, look to a :30 "Flip the Script" spot running nationally on YouTube: A distraught  woman says to her doctor, “This cold is the worst. Can I get some antibiotics?,” to which the doctor replies, “Lets flip the script on that. Antibiotics don’t work on viral infections like cold and flu.”

Mucinex’s 360° campaign, meanwhile, not only includes the point-of-care materials, YouTube video and website, but also local radio and Spotify ads, all designed to educate consumers “about the issue before they even get into a health center.” Pearson says.

In a “Flip the Script” pilot conducted with clinics, the number of antibiotic prescriptions dropped 3.46%. Pearson says Mucinex is ”looking to beat that in the official campaign.” 

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