Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has hired the Shire Hall Group to
work on the latest in its line of pre-product launches.
The product in question is Zelmac, a treatment for irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS). Shire Hall Communications will work on public relations
around the launch of the treatment, while sister-company 4D has been
appointed to assist with the medical education programme. Both accounts
are UK based, and were awarded following a four-way pitch.
Board director Neil McGregor-Paterson will head the PR account. He said:
’IBS is a condition which affects approximately 20 per cent of the
population, and which up until now has been poorly managed. We are
looking forward to a very successful launch for Zelmac.’ The team
reports to Novartis marketing manager Carol Rushworth.
IBS is the name given to a chronic disorder which causes symptoms as
varied as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Because
there are as yet no tests to prove a patient has IBS, it is difficult
for GPs to diagnose. Patients are also less likely to present their
symptoms than with other illnesses.
Many people who suffer IBS try to control symptoms through diet and
alternative treatments. Zelmac, which is specifically aimed at managing
constipation-prominent IBS, is designed to work alongside complimentary
The appointment of Shire Hall and 4D is the third in three months for
Novartis. The company appointed Greenlines Healthcare Communications to
work on its Alzheimer’s disease treatment Exelon (PR Week, 23 June) and
a month later appointed Countrywide Porter Novelli to launch a new
diabetes treatment, Starlix (PR Week, 21 July).
In March this year, Glaxo Wellcome hired the Red Consultancy for the
global launch of its IBS treatment Lotronex.