Demystifying pain management for pharmacists


Millions of people suffer pain but the majority don’t understand the range of pain relief products that are on the market. And importantly, most of them are unaware of the risks of misuse of pain medication, especially those containing opioids such as codeine. In this context, pharmacists have a key role to play in ensuring consumers manage their pain relief appropriately. Our client Perrigo wanted to support pharmacists and their customers in addressing this crucial pain issue 



Strategic approach

Our approach was to cut through the complexity of pain management and provide clarity for pharmacists and their assistants in analgesic stewardship by unpicking often confused terms such as addiction, misuse, abuse and dependency.

We created the concept of The PAIN CODE, a 3-part training programme to help pharmacists fully understand pain relief options by providing them with: 

+ Up-to-date information on pain management options
+ Guidance on how to have the right conversation with their customers
+ Soft skill training to address sensitive issues
+ Help to identify people who may need more support



Creative solution

We created an overarching and memorable campaign identity – PAIN CODE – and 3 complementary modules to guide pharmacists through different levels of help, questioning protocols and consumer advice: 

GREEN – entry point advice where there are no concerns 
AMBER – helping to advise on analgesic use and addressing potential misuse
RED – addressing significant concerns about pain relief misuse or dependency 

The campaign was staggered over 8 months across digital, face-to-face and print-based channels, to build momentum and take the maximum number of HCPs on the PAIN CODE journey. We also provided reminder information in shorter formats to help reinforce the training messages over time.  We worked on the roll-out of the campaign in collaboration with Perrigo’s Field Sales Force, CIG and Skills in Healthcare.


PAIN CODE received extremely high levels of reach and engagement and was shortlisted for an OTC Award in 2023: 

+ Over 3,000 video completions
+ 200+ QR code scans
+ Delivery of training to 1500 Boots stores
+ 4250 HCPs trained face-to-face


Our strategic direction, content creation, and visual identity delivered a comprehensive campaign that reflects Perrigo’s commitment to safeguarding consumers and supporting pharmacy teams. The programme has received exceptionally high engagement levels and overwhelmingly positive feedback. It was also shortlisted for the OTC awards.

“The PAIN CODE is the best training I’ve received in recent years.” (feedback from a Boots pharmacist) 



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