AbbVie, Benchmark Middle East partner to raise awareness of painful skin condition

Sami Abi Nakhoul

AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, recently teamed up with Benchmark Middle East in organizing an advertising competition in Dubai to increase awareness of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), a chronic condition that causes small, painful lumps under the skin.

The Young Lynx Print Competition at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, called upon advertising executives younger than 30 to come up with a creative solution to raise awareness of the health condition, which is also known as acne inversa and tends to affect young adults. 

“For the first time, this competition addressed a topic that goes beyond (consumer goods) and services,” Sami Abi Nakhoul, general manager of AbbVie South Gulf Countries, told Gulf News Journal. “We wanted to break the rules and address a health care cause. Our decision was to increase awareness about HS, and advise the patients that there is a treatment for their conditions and get them back to their normal life.”

HS, which is caused when hair follicles become blocked and inflamed, can be extremely painful and can result in foul-smelling drainage if the lumps break open. This often impacts the quality of life of those living with the condition. It has been recognized by the dermatology society in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as one of the most misdiagnosed dermatological conditions, which takes on average of eight years to be properly diagnosed.

With the unique competition meant to ultimately improve patients’ lives, both AbbVie and Benchmark were aligned in terms of bringing the health care sector and pharma companies to a different level of exposure to young innovative minds.

“Benchmark supported all logistics as a co-sponsor in the event, which gave us a unique opportunity as a health care company to participate in an important event in collaboration with the dermatology society in the UAE,” Abi Nakhoul said. “Interaction with young and creative minds throughout the competition was really thrilling, and we thank them for their efforts and dedication to help HS patients.” 

Abi Nakhoul said that they received many innovative ideas in the competition. Some of them really stood out in terms of simplicity and depth, and others for visualizing patient suffering in detail.

“We are really impressed by all the projects presented, and I believe many of them can be used in a campaign as well as advertisement,” Abi Nakhoul said.


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