Healthcare: AZ raises Crestor global PR clout

AstraZeneca (AZ) has appointed a former PRO at mobile phone firm 3 as global product PR manager for controversial cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor.

3 community affairs manager Ben Strutt has joined in the newly created position.

Strutt described his role as 'strategic and global', in contrast to his 'frontline' job at the mobile phone firm.

He joins a Crestor PR team led by the brand's senior global PR manager, Helen Mills.

Crestor has suffered sustained negative press, particularly in the US where consumer watchdog Public Citizen has demanded its withdrawal over safety concerns. AZ has maintained a robust defence of its safety.

The drug recently achieved blockbuster status, with annual sales topping $1bn, according to first-quarter results last month.

Shire Health International continues to handle global PR for Crestor.

Red Door Communications handles its PR in the UK.

At 3, Strutt handled public and political relations in the north of England, handling issues such as the impact of phone masts on people's health.

Prior to 3, he worked at Didsbury-based Clear Marketing Communications as PR account manager, and before that was a local BBC broadcast journalist.

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