Philadelphia, PA — It’s not often that a social media strategy idea really goes viral – let alone gets 752 million social impressions, tens of thousands of interactions, international media coverage and a letter from the FDA.

Alex Peterson, SVP, Health Practice Director at Makovsky took us inside the planning. The team was marketing a drug called Diclegis. It treats nausea for pregnant women.

Based on their 2015 Pulse of Online Search, they knew that pregnant women were likely to get information online and be active proponents of the treatments they want:

  • 65% turn to social media to learn how to manage a condition
  • 45% to learn about a specific treatment
  • 43% conduct research before a doctors appointment
  • 65% will ask for a prescription by name when they talk to a doctor


Through social monitoring, they also knew that Kardashian was struggling with nausea during her first pregnancy. She’d been talking about morning sickness for weeks. The team at Makovsky reached out to tell her about Diclegis and found out that she was already taking the drug, her doctor had just prescribed it .

Working with Kardashian and her manager (mom-ager), they were able to build a partnership with Kardashian to promote the product on her instagram account. She took over 300 selfies to find an angle that clearly displayed all the label information:

Makovsky had been careful to understand all the draft FDA guidance and made their best recommendations on how to build the post to work within them. But, they knew a letter from the FDA was a possibility – so, the contract with Kardashian included the creation of a corrective post, if needed.

As all our readers know, the letter did come and the FDA required a corrective post with new information about safety and risks. When the corrective post launched (right before the VMAs), Kardashian’s fans embraced it. As Peterson explained, “People love Kim Kardashian. It doesn’t matter if she’s talking about puppies or rainbows or getting sanctioned by the FDA, people love her.”

The celebrity post earned 752 million social media impressions, 800+ online print articles and TV/radio segments, $12+ million advertising value, a 388% growth in trafifc to the site, and a lot of late-night hours scanning comments for adverse events.

The full corrective post:

#CorrectiveAd I guess you saw the attention my last #morningsickness post received. The FDA has told Duchesnay, Inc., that my last post about Diclegis (doxylamine succinate and pyridoxine HCl) was incomplete because it did not include any risk information or important limitations of use for Diclegis. A link to this information accompanied the post, but this didn’t meet FDA requirements. So, I’m re-posting and sharing this important information about Diclegis. For US Residents Only. Diclegis is a prescription medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy in women who have not improved with change in diet or other non-medicine treatments. Limitation of Use: Diclegis has not been studied in women with hyperemesis gravidarum. Important Safety Information Do not take Diclegis if you are allergic to doxylamine succinate, other ethanolamine derivative antihistamines, pyridoxine hydrochloride or any of the ingredients in Diclegis. You should also not take Diclegis in combination with medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as these medicines can intensify and prolong the adverse CNS effects of Diclegis. The most common side effect of Diclegis is drowsiness. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or other activities that need your full attention unless your healthcare provider says that you may do so. Do not drink alcohol, or take other central nervous system depressants such as cough and cold medicines, certain pain medicines, and medicines that help you sleep while you take Diclegis. Severe drowsiness can happen or become worse causing falls or accidents. Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Diclegis can pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby. You should not breastfeed while using Diclegis. Additional safety information can be found at or Duchesnay USA encourages you to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.