Cartoon character to help boost uptake of life-saving drug which is not being used enough

November 17, 2011

An Editorial in this week's Lancet is promoting a campaign to improve uptake of a life-saving drug that is barely being used despite its huge potential.

In 2010, the CRASH-2 collaborators, led by Professor Ian Roberts (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK) announced the results of a multinational randomised trial of tranexamic acid versus placebo in adult trauma patients with significant bleeding. When given within 8 h of injury, tranexamic acid significantly reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by about a tenth and death due to bleeding by about a sixth, with no increased risk of thromboembolic side-effects.

The Editorial says: "Despite these compelling findings, an audit of UK hospitals in 2011 showed that, of 412 trauma patients who were ill enough to need a blood transfusion and therefore be eligible for tranexamic acid treatment, only 12 (3%) received it. The implementation rate in low-income and middle-income countries could well be lower still."

To promote uptake of this generic, off-patent drug, Professor Roberts asked his nephew Hywel Roberts (an animation student aged 22) to design a cartoon about tranexamic acid. It consists of 40-second clay animation of a bleeding car crash victim and ends with an invitation to view the CRASH-2 trial results. The voice-over has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and English. The video is being posted on YouTube and Tudou, one of the largest video sharing websites in China.

The Editorial concludes: "If branded pens and sticky notes can boost prescription of blockbuster drugs (and we know that they can), there is every hope that a much greater reward can be reaped by patients whose doctors view this animation."
The video can be found at

For Professor Ian Roberts, please contact the LSHTM Press Office. T) 44 (0)207 927 2802 E) /


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