PhRMA picks Edelman for state outreach effort.

WASHINGTON: PhRMA, the politically influential trade association for the US drug industry, has chosen Edelman in a consolidation of business that was previously handled by 14 separate firms.

WASHINGTON: PhRMA, the politically influential trade association for the US drug industry, has chosen Edelman in a consolidation of business that was previously handled by 14 separate firms.

Ken Johnson, PhRMA's SVP of communications, said, "Edelman is going to be one of our primary PR firms in our state outreach effort."

Issues the team will be working on include drug importation, Medicare prescription drug benefits, and assistance programs for the uninsured, all on the state level.

Johnson said PhRMA does not have any other RFPs out for PR support, but affirms that the organization may seek a firm to "do similar work on another front," potentially on a national scale.

Edelman won the business over three other shortlisted agencies, Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard, and APCO Worldwide. APCO continues to work with PhRMa on its Partnership for Prescription Assistance program.

"We were very impressed with [Edelman's] skills, their reach across America, and the people they have assigned to work with us," Johnson said. "They are going to be invaluable partners."

PhRMA has been, "reviewing and analyzing" its agency relationships since early this year. The organization has been under new leadership as former congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) stepped into the role in January 2005. Tauzin has made improving the industry's image a top priority.

The pharmaceutical industry faces almost constant criticism and scrutiny over everything from the cost of medication to the safety of post-approval products. Drug companies must, "re-earn the trust and confidence of the American public," Tauzin has been quoted as saying.

Johnson says of Edelman's appointment, "This doesn't complete our reorganization efforts."

The account will be managed out of Edelman's Washington, DC office. "We do a lot of work for the industry and many of PhRMA's members, and we are delighted to be able to continue doing that work," said Peter Segall, GM.

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