PhRMA comms department reorganizes, launches new campaign

WASHINGTON: PhRMA, the drug industry's influential trade group, has launched an aggressive new PR plan as its new leadership completes their first five months in office.

WASHINGTON: PhRMA, the drug industry's influential trade group, has launched an aggressive new PR plan as its new leadership completes their first five months in office.

Ken Johnson, SVP of communications, admits that PhRMA has been a powerful lobbying force, but without strategic PR direction.

"PhRMA has had unparalleled success in advocating its position," he told attendees of a conference on Communicating Pharmaceutical Value. "With that said, it's fallen off in communications and education."

Johnson noted that, in order to be more proactive with media relations, his team has been reorganized "almost like a beat system," with staffers assigned to oversee state, federal, or international outreach.

For radio audiences, PhRMA has launched a Healthcare Now series, which Johnson likens to an ANR that can be played in small markets without health reporters. The content is tagged with PhRMA website innovation.org.

It is also looking into similar TV opportunities, and is building an onsite studio that will allow CEO Billy Tauzin, a cancer survivor, to respond to a greater number of interview and speaking requests.

"Part of my strategy is to literally make him an evangelist for the pharmaceutical industry," Johnson said.

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