Strategic Communications Case Study: DaTScan

GE Healthcare DaTscan logo

As the global PR agency of record for GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics (GEHC MDx), JFK Communications developed and lead the strategy to support the PR launch of DaTscan™ (Ioflupane I 123 Injection).

DaTscan is a radiopharmaceutical agent intended for use with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging, for the detection of dopamine transporters (DaT) in the brains of adult patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes (PS).  DaTscan is the first FDA-approved diagnostic imaging agent to help physicians evaluate neurodegenerative movement disorders, such as idiopathic (of unknown cause) Parkinson’s disease (PD). 

DaTscan scan

In preparation for the DaTscan FDA approval, JFK lead GEHC MDx through a number of key challenges, including:

  • Limited resources for a traditional drug launch

  • DEA issues associated with DaTscan

  • Resistance from the neurology community – the most important target audience

  • Reimbursement – DaTscan utilizes a radio-labeled medicine, with a complex SPECT scan, and is perceived to be very expensive

  • Creating a strong link between dopamine deficiency as an underlying cause of movement and cognitive disorders

  • Competitive threats

  • Patent exclusivity issues

Despite these challenges, JFK implemented a comprehensive public relations program to support the FDA approval of DaTscan, including:

Pre-launch support

  • Regulatory milestones

  • Data communications

  • KOL relations

  • Advocacy relations

  • FDA advisory committee support

FDA Advisory Committee meeting

FDA approval support

Core materials development including:

  • Product messaging

  • Press release

  • Q&A

  • B-roll

  • Web video

  • Spokespersons media training

  • Advocacy relations

  • Policy communications/issues management

  • Launch media blitz

  • Interactive support

    • GE Healthcare Blog/Twitter

    • Optimized all content to

    • Social media monitoring

  • Organizational communications

    • Linking DaTscan to GE Healthymagination campaign

    • Employee emails

    • Sales force emails


Our support for DaTscan yielded the following results:

  • Evergreen external content to ensure long-term consistent product messaging in the media and on the web

  • JFK prepared two GE spokespersons; two external medical spokespersons; and two external patient advocacy spokespersons

  • Fostered strong relationships with key advocacy groups including: PDF, MJFF and the National Parkinson’s Foundation

  • Extensive mainstream media coverage, including placements in Bloomberg, International Herald Tribune, NPR, Barron’s, and

  • Significant coverage in the patient advocacy community including: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, National Parkinson’s Foundation

  • Major coverage in targeted trade media:, Imaging Technology News, Radiology Today, and Medscape



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Parkinson's Disease Foundation Michael J. Fox Foundation National Parkinson Foundation
Barron's Online  NPR  CBS News
Medscape Radiology Today