Novartis hires Shire Hall to boost IBS drug launch

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has hired the Shire Hall Group to work on the latest in its line of pre-product launches.

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

therapies.



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.



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