Ex-baseball player hired by AbbVie to help de-stigmatize bowel condition as part of their post-Humira growth strategy

Ex-baseball player hired by AbbVie to help de-stigmatize bowel condition as part of their post-Humira growth strategy

In his second season playing professional baseball, Fowler, who won the World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, had ulcerative colitis discovered. Fowler, who is now retired, detailed in an Instagram post sponsored by AbbVie how he began having “difficult gastrointestinal symptoms and using the toilet more frequently” than typical before the diagnosis. The modifications “made playing really challenging,” according to Fowler.

This week, Fowler and physician Susan Kais, M.D. participated in a virtual media event hosted by AbbVie, which distributes the IBD medications Rinvoq and Skyrizi. Fowler talked about his experience after his initial diagnosis. 

“I was 22 years old. I had so much going on, and I was overwhelmed,” Fowler said. “I had no clue what is ulcerative colitis was. There wasn’t much information out there, so I actually got a book. It was ‘Crohn’s and Colitis for Dummies.’” 

The book helped Fowler realize what he was going through and how to conquer it. It also taught him the differences between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis—a distinction he was previously unable to articulate when others mistakenly believed he had the former ailment. The 22-year-old Fowler would now have access to more resources, such as AbbVie’s Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis Companion. 

“I wish I had something like that. Whatever you have questions about, you can just go through the website and try to find a solution,” Fowler said. “There’s so many different variables and what works for one person might not work for another person. It’s kind of a trial and error just to see how your body responds.” 

Fowler, a recent MLB All-Star who is currently employed as a studio commentator, might assist AbbVie in addressing the alleged societal stigmatization of IBD. Fowler claimed that even using a public lavatory was tough for him, thus talking about his experience was also challenging. However, the retired baseball player has found that discussing has been helpful because it has revealed that many individuals experience similar problems.  

As it attempts to increase sales of Rinvoq and Skyrizi to make up for the loss of U.S. patent protection on its megablockbuster Humira, AbbVie is attempting to encourage patients with IBD symptoms to consult their physicians. Sales of Rinvoq and Skyrizi, which treat illnesses other than IBD, totaled ~$8 billion in 2017. In 2027, AbbVie predicts that the combined sales of the medications will surpass the peak of Humira, with revenues of $~20 billion.

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