Lilly strengthens bonds with Virgo

Lilly UK has reinforced its ties with Virgo Health PR by handing its third product comms account to the agency.

The firm has brought in Richmond-upon-Thames-based Virgo to replace Packer Forbes Communications on the brief for anti-depressant Cymbalta.

'We're looking to position Cymbalta as the most balanced therapy available – only it can combat the physical and psychological aspects of depression,' said Virgo deputy MD Neil Flash.

Cymbalta is in a particularly competitive market, up against one of the few widely known drug brands – Prozac. It works as both an anti-depressant and pain reducer, and can also be used to combat nerve damage as a result of diabetes.

Flash reports to Lilly UK comms manager Dominic Wake. He will also report to staff at Boehringer-Ingelheim, which co-markets the drug in the UK.

The campaign is partly media relations and partly medical education.
Virgo currently works with Lilly on schizophrenia and bipolar personality drug Zypreza, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment Strattera. It represents Boehringer-Ingelheim on its hypertension treatment Micardis.

Packer Forbes declined to take part in what was a two-way pitch for the business. At the agency the Lilly account was handled by David Keown, who quit to join France-based pharma firm Sanofi-Aventis late last year (PRWeek, 14 Oct 2005). Packer Forbes first scooped the account in 2004 (PRWeek, 31 April 2004).

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