Healthcare: GSK puts worldwide Avodart brief up for grabs

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline is in talks with UK agencies over a global contract to promote Avodart, its treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The incumbent agency on the business is Fleishman-Hillard, which declined to repitch for the account because of a conflict of interest. F-H has handled both medical education and PR for the brand.

BPH is caused by enlargement of the prostate. Avodart works by shrinking the prostate, enabling improvements in urinary flow that can be seen as early as one month into treatment.

Edelman and Ketchum are understood to have already pitched for the business, with an unknown healthcare specialist agency also in the running. A decision is expected to be made within four weeks.

Clinical findings released last year showed that men with symptoms of BPH enjoyed sustained, long-term benefits in areas such as urinary flow after taking Avodart for four years.

GSK is currently investigating the use of Avodart for the prevention of prostate cancer. Should trials be successful and regulatory approval forthcoming, the drug would have a major new market.

BPH is estimated to affect 50 per cent of men over the age of 60, and four fifths of men aged over 80.

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