Health regs lead to creation of Burson subsidiary

NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller is launching Consitor, a new subsidiary, in response to an increasingly regulated health space.

NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller is launching Consitor, a new subsidiary, in response to an increasingly regulated health space.

The new unit focuses on providing healthcare companies and institutions with integrated communication strategies that target critical stakeholders within the healthcare and science community such as providers, payers, and regulatory bodies, instead of general consumers.

The impetus of this new offering resulted from not only increasing external regulations and policy changes leveled toward pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies, but internal ones as healthcare companies move to separate PR and advocacy outreach efforts, which until now had been handled in one office at their companies.

This was done as healthcare companies sought to eliminate perception of any inappropriate outreach to physicians and other medical industry stakeholders now that companies have to be more transparent in their interactions following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, said Reyn Archer, the US leader of Consitor.

“We had two major pharmaceutical clients in the last six months saying they wanted advocacy work in the firm to stop.” Archer said. “It was a surprise to us.”

A key aim of this new subsidiary is to allow companies to break away from a siloed approach by allowing Burson to continue to offer outreach services for both audiences.

These client concerns are specific to the US, internationally the new subsidiary will focus on building client reputation and helping clients break into emerging markets such as Brazil, China, and Mexico.

“We bring a unique team filled with scientist, marketers, and branding specialists that can provide 360-degree approaches and tailor make solutions,” said Toula Stoffel, the Euoropean leader of Consitor.

The company has already been using the model, with a number of clients who are responding well to it, Archer said, though he could not disclose which. Burson will also have Consitor staff at upcoming RFP pitch meetings.

Historically the firm has worked with such pharmaceutical clients as GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Eli Lilly, and AstraZeneca.

“Consitor's strategic support will help clients achieve crucial differentiation from the competition,” Burson-Marsteller Worldwide CEO Donald Baer said in a statement.

Consitor has a staff of about 40 worldwide that is made up of scientists, clinicians, marketers, branding specialists, and public health experts. The subsidiary formally offers strategy development, brand life cycle management, key opinion leader development, scientific communications, health economics, policy, advocacy, and market access.

Burson-Marsteller lost its last global CEO Mark Penn last month, when he left the firm to join Microsoft as corporate VP for strategic and special projects.

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