BURSON-MARSTELLER - No figures available
'2002 was the best-ever year for the healthcare practice and 2003 looks even better,' says Burson-Marsteller European healthcare practice managing director Ralph Sutton.
According to Communique (Jan-June 2003), B-M's annual healthcare billings in the UK are around £4.4m. However, Sutton says this figure is based on 2001, and, since then, the practice has grown.
Key for its healthcare strategy is B-M's focus on the entire lifecycle of blockbuster drugs, such as GlaxoSmithKline's respiratory treatment, Seretide, Allergan's Botox treatment and AstraZeneca's cardiovascular brand, Plavix. 'We work on a relatively small number of big projects,' says Sutton. 'And, as we typically take on long-term assignments for these brands, business tends to be very stable.'
The agency has long-standing relationships with clients such as AstraZeneca, GSK and Johnson & Johnson, with new business mainly driven by cross-referrals.
Yet, as a full-service agency, a substantial amount of healthcare business is also led out of other parts of the agency. For the past four years, for example, B-M's public affairs team has worked with the cross-industry Pharmaceutical Schizophrenia Initiative.
Furthermore, the agency's consumer credentials attracted consumer health brands, including account wins with GSK's paracetamol category (branded Panadol in the UK) and food brand Horlicks in 2002.
New business wins last year also included anaemia treatment Eprex, from Johnson & Johnson company Ortho Biotech, and a global assignment in the diabetes therapeutic area for Aventis. B-M's current focus for development is medical education.
COHN & WOLFE - No figures available
As part of the WPP Group, Cohn & Wolfe is unable to disclose fee income, but Communique figures put the agency's UK healthcare billings for January to December 2002 at £3.6m, accounting for around a third of overall business.
C&W's healthcare arm currently boasts 35 account handlers, working for 40 different accounts across the UK ethical, international ethical and consumer health areas.
According to healthcare managing director Angie Wiles, the division enjoyed a 90 per cent key client retention rate in 2002. It won 84 per cent of new business pitches, translating into 25 pieces of new business over the year - 19 won competitively.
New clients included Pfizer and Procter & Gamble, the latter handing C&W its osteoporosis product, Actonel, in 2002. Other newcomers included Napp Mundipharma on a pain-management brief.
Business growth also came from established clients, such as Eli Lilly, which awarded C&W a global remit for its ADHD treatment Strattera. Elsewhere, GlaxoSmithKline hired C&W to promote its erectile disfunction treatment, Levitra, plus its 'consumer pain' portfolio.
Responding to the rise of what C&W calls 'healthsumers' - consumers well-informed and active in healthcare decision-making - the agency spun its consumer health offering into a new division, Elixir, headed by Caroline Page, last July. 'We developed Elixir to work with pharmaceutical companies taking ethical products to consumers and FMCG brands, and looking to highlight the health benefits of their products,' says Wiles.
In 2002, C&W won a raft of industry awards, including PRWeek's Best Ethical Healthcare Campaign, for diabetes awareness work with Lilly.
EDELMAN (2) - £4,116,000
With a fee income rise of 31 per cent to more than £4m, Edelman Health takes second place in this year's table.
A pivotal year for Edelman, 2002 saw the division moving from a prescription PR focus to full-service healthcare consultancy.
A dedicated consumer health team was officially launched in 2003, headed by former Biss Lancaster director Denise Doran, who joined last September.
Former GPC International associate director Corrine Pluchino also joined last autumn to lead a political health team focused on monitoring public policy developments for health-related clients.
With around five staff members each, these two divisions sit alongside Edelman's global pharmaceutical offering, Rx Health, its BioScience Communications team of scientists and medical experts, and Strategic Health, which offers senior-level counsel. With further recruitment at BioScience, these changes have taken staff numbers from 18 to 27.
'We now cover the whole product life-cycle and offer policy and consumer PR advice,' says MD of global operations health Nigel Brakewell.
During 2002, Edelman Health won 14 pieces of business, including a rheumatoid arthritis brief for Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare's blood-cleaning products. In addition, the team continued its work for AstraZeneca's cardiovascular portfolio, while handling press relations for international world life sciences forum BioVision this April.
Brakewell reports that, after a quiet first quarter of 2003 for new business, pitches are beginning to roll in. The agency also plans to extend its healthcare offering this July, with the launch of a food issues group.
FLEISHMAN-HILLARD EUROPE - No figures available
Fleishman-Hillard's healthcare offering was buoyant and grew rapidly in 2002, according to MD Scott Clark.
The most significant new business win was Eli Lilly's entire oncology portfolio, while GlaxoSmithKline awarded the agency its new prostate treatment, Avodart, and further business came from Pfizer/Pharmacia and Johnson & Johnson.
Until a year ago, all of the agency's healthcare fee income was driven by the CPR Worldwide Group, which F-H acquired in 1999.
During the past 12 months, however, the agency has been cross-selling the expertise of its other PR practices, working for clients such as AstraZeneca and GSK in areas including issues management and change management.
'We used to handle issues such as a product recall, but, in the past year, we've moved into addressing issues around CSR,' comments Clark.
The agency began to marry the ethical pharmaceutical skills of CPR with the consumer heritage of F-H. Primarily, this involved putting a consumer face on prescription medicines, but the agency is looking at making consumer health a distinct offering this summer, plus branching out into areas such as food health.
F-H states it has won all six of its new business pitches in 2003, picking up the brief to promote a media seminar for the European Society of Cardiology.
Elsewhere, Amersham Biosciences chose CPR to promote its molecular testing products, and other big wins include two pieces of work for biotech company Amgen, some urology business for GSK and a cardiovascular medication for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
GALLIARD HEALTHCARE COMMUNICATIONS (5) - £2,777,000
With fee income rocketing from £1.6m in 2001 to £2.7m last year, Galliard achieved fee income growth of more than 70 per cent in 2002.
MD Marika Freris explains this impressive performance: 'In the middle of 2001, we won a lot of new business, which really kicked off in 2002.
As a result, staff numbers were also boosted, rising from 15 to 26 within 12 months.'
Formed in 2000 by Freris, formerly with Oxford Clinical Communications, and Rosemary Hennings, a one-time freelance healthcare PR consultant, the agency aims to be 'delivery-oriented' and offer senior counsel.
'In previous roles, I'd spend 50 to 60 per cent of my time away from client business, but now I have day-to-day involvement,' adds Freris.
With sound experience in medical education, around 40 per cent of Galliard's work is devoted to materials and issues management. A further 20 per cent is in advisory board work, 20 per cent in workshops and satellite meetings at events - such as at the British Society of Rheumatology in Brighton and the European Association of Urology in Birmingham - while 20 per cent is dedicated to media relations.
Longstanding clients include AstraZeneca and Merck Sharp & Dohme, while the agency works in anaemia, mental health and diabetes for other clients including Lilly, Pfizer and Roche. Galliard has also been working with devices company BARD on its incontinence implants.
While most of the agency's projects tend to be ongoing, one piece of business stalled in 2003, for a drug that failed to win a licence.
GRAYLING HEALTHCARE - No figures available
At the close of 2002, the Grayling Group amalgamated its services into one offering across PR, public affairs and events.
As a result, the healthcare division is more easily able to manage projects such as the Victoria Climbie Inquiry. Grayling worked with the Inquiry Team and the Department of Health on the medical and political issues, while organising the media event surrounding the release of Lord Laming's report.
With ethical and consumer health and expertise, and clients such as Roche Products, the bulk of the division's revenue originates from food science.
Grayling works with Mars, for example, to inform healthcare professionals about chocolate's antioxidant agents, and with Unilever Best Foods, promoting its cholesterol-lowering spread, Flora Proactive.
Last May, the 21-strong team built on its biotech credentials, winning KS Biomedix, the UK firm that makes TransMid, a drug that can be infused through the skull to treat certain types of brain tumour.
Similarly, business increased for Bayer Consumer Care and its Alka-Seltzer, Canasten, Germalene, Germaloids and Bruiseze brands.
Work for Abbott Laboratories and its impotence treatment Uprima ended at the close of 2002, while Grayling terminated its relationship with sports supplement specialist Muscles Marketing USA, after the firm became involved in litigation with US chemical company Degussa.
Business has remained stable in 2003, but Grayling Healthcare chief executive Peter Holden admits: 'We may have a pretty tough year, as a lot more boutique healthcare agencies are opening up.'
KETCHUM - No figures available
Ketchum's healthcare practice has witnessed a change in its business strategy to attract more domestic-based clients over the past year. 'Two years ago we were known as an international office, with very little UK business,' says MD of European healthcare Mark Cater. 'Now, 60 per cent of healthcare business in London is international and 40 per cent is UK-specific.' Figures published in Communique before Sarbanes-Oxley came into effect put the agency's UK healthcare billings for 2002 at £4.2m. However, Cater claims this number represents the year to October, since when billings have grown.
Significant growth seems likely if staffing changes are taken into account. The practice began the year with a team of 19, and ended the year with 40.
In addition, Ketchum attracted a number of new clients, including Pfizer, which awarded the agency its inhaled insulin product, Exubera, and added anti-cholesterol treatment Lipitor and a cardiovascular portfolio throughout the year.
The division's main focus for business growth, however, was its existing client base, most notably Roche, which expanded its AIDS/HIV and oncology work from four to nine products over 12 months.
Ketchum is now looking to recruit more UK specialists with strong NHS experience and policy skills, and aims to adopt a more defined management structure.
Cater was recently promoted from Ketchum London healthcare MD to a newly created pan-European MD role, while Avril Lee joined from Chandler Chicco, to take up the newly created post of deputy MD healthcare.
MEDIA STRATEGY (20) - £292,500
Established in 1998 by John Major's former press secretary, Charles Lewington, Media Strategy specialises in media relations and government relations, with 45 per cent of its income generated from the healthcare sector.
The past 12 months have seen the agency grow substantially, with healthcare fee income rising 83 per cent in 2002. New clients include Patient Choice Partners, a consortium bidding to run the Government's new Diagnostic and Treatment Centres.
The agency also picked up a crisis communications and public affairs brief for part of consortium Capio, the Swedish-owned hospital group that runs 25 acute hospitals in the UK, and is looking to do more work for the NHS.
Both the PCP and Capio wins highlight a core competency for the agency in the 'third sector', where private companies provide publicly funded healthcare services to NHS patients.
Media Strategy also works for two arms of the NHS itself, the National Primary Care Development Team, and the Government's new clinical staffing bureau, NHS Professional. Other activities extend to food health brands - it is working with Unilever on a campaigning brief and healthcare professionals programme for the Flora Proactive brand.
Last October, Andrew Harrison, a one-time media adviser to health secretary Alan Milburn, joined as account director from Sante Communications. But in January, the agency lost associate director and former Department of Health director of information Romola Christopherson, who died suddenly.
'I owe Romola a huge debt for helping us develop the business,' says Lewington.
MEDITECH MEDIA (1) - £6,789,295
Taking the top slot, MediTech Media enjoyed fee income growth of 18 per cent over its 2001 figure, generating nearly £5.5m in healthcare fee income.
CEO and chairman Stephen Cameron attributes the strong performance to a fully integrated editorial, multimedia, design, exhibitions and account management offering, plus scientific and strategic support.
Growth came from several new clients in 2002, including Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Serono Pharmaceuticals, while others, such as Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, put more work the agency's way.
While the agency has remained stable in terms of its senior management and staffing numbers over the past 12 months - investing in retaining and developing staff, while evolving its finance functions - it has also continued to invest in technology, developing DVD and animated 3-D graphics capabilities for clients.
In addition, the consultancy has upgraded its communications network.
A second video conferencing suite is in its London HQ and virtual private networks now link all of its offices in Europe, the US and Asia. 'That has really changed the way in which we work,' says Cameron. 'Not only have we put in place systems that enable our teams and clients to work together globally, we have developed working practices for this to happen efficiently. The fact we are not a franchise or bought-in network has also been one of the important factors in making this work.'
MTM also has expertise in medical publishing and conference organising through its sister company, International Medical Press.
MUNRO & FORSTER COMMUNICATIONS (4) - £2,982,366
At number four in the table, the big shake-ups for Munro & Forster in 2003 have been the retirement of founder Alison Munro and the MBO led by Brian Gunson, who bought the majority share of the business and took over as chairman.
Julie Flexen is now sole MD and former director Sarah Hart has taken on the role of deputy MD.
Behind the MBO is a business strategy aiming to involve staff more directly in the agency's performance. According to Flexen, this should deliver a 100 per cent increase in revenue over the next eight to nine years.
This means a number of products and services are in the pipeline, while Flexen heads up a new operational board, designed to give associate directors more say in the firm's direction.
M&F spans the ethical arena through consumer health, to public health and social issues.
In 2002, the agency won high street chemists chain Lloydspharmacy, while picking up a drugs strategy brief from the Home Office and a 'five-a-day' fruit and vegetable nutrition scheme from the Department of Health. Other major wins included an infertility treatment remit for Serono Pharmaceuticals and an HRT brief from Novo Nordisk.
Meanwhile, 2003 kicked off with Cephalon appointing the agency to handle its narcolepsy treatment.
RED DOOR COMMUNICATIONS (14) - £839,991
Now in its third year of business, Red Door Communications racked up impressive fee income growth of 61 per cent in 2002.
Set up in August 2000 by former GCI Healthcare chiefs Catherine Warne and Julia Tollis, the agency won nine pieces of business last year. This includes three big name clients: Novartis, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals - for which Red Door Communications works across the rheumatology and mental health therapeutic areas - and Roche Diagnostics, on a blood monitoring device, CoaguChek S.
However, growth has also been organic. Eli Lilly, for which the agency first started working three years ago in the area of critical care, awarded Red Door Communications the account for osteoporosis treatment Evista in March. Similarly, work for vaccine company Aventis Pasteur MSD landed the consultancy a corporate and issues management brief early this year.
The agency - which specialises in ethical pharmaceutical work - also has considerable expertise in bringing prescription drugs and devices to consumer audiences.
'Vaccines are a good example, where the consumer is generally the one who is in the driving seat for any treatment,' says Tollis. However, the agency has no plans as yet to extend its business into the OTC arena.
The consultancy has retained all its clients but one since set up, losing Bayer last October.
RESOLUTE COMMUNICATIONS (17) - £582,764 New entry
Set up in December 2001 by former Fleishman-Hillard colleagues Paul Blackburn and Anna Korving, Resolute Communications enjoyed a meteoric rise during its first year. With no outside investment nor pre-confirmed clients, the agency has gone from a standing start to achieve more than £500,000 in fee income.
'At the start of 2002, we had to create and build the brand, which meant Resolute's directors have invested heavily in terms of marketing and promoting the organisation,' says Blackburn.
During the past 18 months Resolute has won and retained accounts with significant players in the pharma industry. These include Mavena Healthcare on a dermatology brief last January, Shire International and its Fosrenol brand, which treats end-stage renal failure, and Roche (UK), in the area of cystic fibrosis.
Since then, the agency has gone on to win Shire UK, plus a strategic global brief for Janssen Pharmaceutica, handling the first long-acting injectable formulation of an 'atypical' antipsychotic medicine.
Resolute has established partnerships with event management, design and production and healthcare lobbying firms to provide full-service support for clients, and the consultancy may open a Stateside office in the next 12 months.
In recognition of the fact that people form the core of its business, the agency has invested significantly in devising a staff development programme. Using external consultants, Resolute now creates a 'success map' for each member of its now 13-strong account handling team.
RUDER FINN UK (6) - £2,216,108
The past 12 months have seen some significant changes at Ruder Finn.
Last June, following the departure of Lee Tomkins to Weber Shandwick's healthcare practice, John Preston was promoted to MD. Since then, the agency has introduced a range of service offerings.
Consumer healthcare specialist Esme Newton-Dunn was promoted to establish a patient and advocacy practice, which has attracted a number of new business wins, most notably a contract to promote the forthcoming UK-wide Ask About Medicines Week.
In April this year, the agency bolstered its lobbying capabilities with the appointment of Hugh McKinney from the now defunct PA firm Keyturn Solutions. This has brought new clients, including Tunstall, a telemedicine and home alert devices provider, and Focus on Food, a cooking education organisation aimed at young children.
On paper, the agency has suffered a slide in healthcare PR income of 16 per cent in 2002. But Preston says this apparent downturn simply reflects a re-allocation of some corporate income away from healthcare in its PRWeek submission.
Key projects in 2002 included the launch of innovative leukaemia treatment Glivec for Novartis, and this March the agency helped the pharma giant launch its Elidel product, a non-steroid treatment for eczema.
The agency has just won a three-way pitch to launch an HIV/AIDS drug for Bristol-Myers Squibb Europe. Other projects include work for Schering Healthcare on an initiative between the pharma industry and the DoH, to examining the cost-efficiency of leukaemia treatments.
SANTE COMMUNICATIONS (9) - £1,370,629
While dedicated to healthcare PR, Sante Communications works across a range of areas, from public affairs, NHS relations and NICE reviews to ethical and consumer communications and medical education.
'We cross quite a few borders, as our people come from diverse backgrounds, allowing for a varied range of work,' says MD Liz Shanahan.
Boots Hearingcare, Sanofi-Synthelabo and Roche are all core clients, while blood products company Octapharma joined the agency's fold last January.
In 2002, Sante picked up a European and UK remit for Boehringer Ingelheim's clot-buster Actilyse - a treatment, which, if given within the first three hours of certain types of stroke, can reduce the initial onset of disability by up to 30 per cent.
The agency enjoyed big success with a broadcast campaign on narcolepsy for Cephalon and its prescription-only medicine Provigil. This resulted in two TV documentaries on the condition, including Nap Attack for BBC1 last October. However, Sante has since parted company with the manufacturer as it shifted focus into other therapeutic areas.
Last April, the agency became a founding member of Global Health PR, an informal network of seven independent healthcare agencies across the UK, US, Europe and Japan. Shanahan, who chairs the network, says: 'It's a partnership designed to capture more international opportunities, and find out what's happening in different markets.'
Sante also rebranded in 2002 with a change in style to its logo, website and brochure.
SHIRE HEALTH GROUP - No figures available
In April last year, the Shire Health Group of healthcare PR agencies, part of the WPP group, rebranded from Shire Hall. CEO Gloria Gibbons says the change was aimed at making the agency's core work clearer to potential and existing clients.
At the same time, the agency unveiled two new companies: Olog-e, a digital communications firm, and Fast4wD, aimed at recruiting patients for clinical trials. Meanwhile, Sugar Consulting, a company that markets health brands to consumers, launched over the summer.
These three start-ups now sit alongside the group's Shire Health-branded London, New York and International offerings, plus Oxford-based 4D Communications, which works with clients such as Johnson & Johnson in the area of medical education.
For Shire Health London, business kicked off last September with new wins coming from Pfizer in the urology therapy area, Aventis around its oncology treatment Taxotere and Merck Sharp & Dohme for its anti-hypertensive brand Cozaar. This new business was boosted in 2003 with a European programme for oncology systems manufacturer Elekta, and a new product licence indication for bipolar disorder for GlaxoSmithKline.
According to Shire Health London MD Fiona Hall, the agency enjoyed a 90 per cent client retention rate over the period 2002 to date, while the remaining ten per cent represents programmes that came to their natural conclusion.
In January, Shire Health Group became part of sister WPP firm Ogilvy's advertising, DM and PR business. This has enabled the agency to access Ogilvy's global network and consumer brand.
- Communique figures for Jan-June 2003 show B-M's annual healthcare billings in the UK at around £4.4m, but the agency says this is based on 2001, and income is now much greater. An impressive and growing roster of clients includes GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson
- Recruitment at Edelman's BioScience Communications arm has driven total healthcare staff numbers to 27, while account wins in 2002 numbered 14 new pieces of business. 2002 saw the health division moving from a prescription PR focus to full-service healthcare consultancy
- Until a year ago, all of Fleishman-Hillard's healthcare work was funneled in through its CPR Worldwide Group acquisition. Now F-H is leveraging its consumer heritage to pick up more consumer-facing work - it has won all six new business pitches this year so far and aims to branch into food health
- Grayling's expertise in ethics and consumer health have drawn revenue from food science, with clients including Mars and Unilever. The agency has amalgamated its PR, PA and events services into one offering, and its biotech credentials allowed it to win advanced tumour treatment business from KS Biomedix
- Ketchum has attempted to shed its international image, with 40 per cent of its healthcare business now UK-based. Pre-Sarbanes-Oxley figures indicate a £4.2m income for 2002, but the agency claims this is significantly higher, backing this claim by more than doubling staff numbers to 40
- The retirement of Munro & Forster Communications founder Alison Munro has led to a big shake-up for the agency, along with an MBO and a staff performance-enhancing strategy aimed to boost revenues by 100 per cent over the course of the next eight or nine years. Major wins last year include Lloydspharmacy
- Impressive fee income growth of 61 per cent has positioned ethical specialist Red Door Communications at number 14 in the table. In its three years of operation, the agency has retained all its clients bar Bayer
- The diverse backgrounds of Sante Communications' staff allow the agency to work across a range of areas, from consumer communication to NHS relations and medical education. In April the agency became a founding member of informal healthcare agency network Global Health PR
- Shire Health Group has enjoyed a 90 per cent client retention rate, with new client wins including Pfizer, Aventis and Merck Sharp & Dome. In January it joined sister WPP firm Ogilvy's advertising, DM and PR business.