Troubled drugs giant AstraZeneca calls in dual agency support

Troubled drugs giant AstraZeneca has named two agencies as its preferred suppliers, amid a backdrop of job cuts and plunging share prices.

Cutbacks: AstraZeneca is axing 7,300 jobs worldwide
Cutbacks: AstraZeneca is axing 7,300 jobs worldwide

The UK’s second largest drug manufacturer is understood to have called in Tonic Life and Red Door Communications for its first UK list, following a seven-month procurement process.

However, industry insiders have questioned whether the contracts will last, given the news regarding job cuts and the chief executive’s departure, which came just days after the roster was confirmed.

A source said: ‘The future of AstraZeneca’s UK marketing operation is unclear. The whole exercise could be redundant.’

AstraZeneca would not comment on these claims, and said the agency shift comes as part of regular reviews of supplier relationships.

Simon Moore, the firm’s UK corporate comms director, said there were ‘no plans to change the UK comms team’ but would not be drawn on whether the firm’s global PR suppliers were to be reviewed.

He added: ‘The announcement in February regarding potential role reductions was part of an ongoing global restructuring programme. The potential impact for any particular geography is not confirmed at this stage, but this is not a factor in the way we manage our UK PR agencies.’

AstraZeneca, which is grappling with  rising drug development costs, suffered a 19 per cent fall in profits in the period from January to March of this year.

Chief executive David Brennan is standing down in June without a permanent replacement appointed.

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