Bell Pottinger North wins arthritis brief

German-owned pharma company Medac UK is to use Macclesfield-based Bell Pottinger North to promote the UK launch of its lead arthritis drug.

The agency will work on the campaign alongside sister Chime agency Ozone, the London-based healthcare specialist, as it looks to secure a bigger portion of a rapidly growing global rheumatoid arthritis market, estimated at around £2.3bn in 2004. Ozone account director Mel Edrich heads the London half of the operation, reporting to Medac UK account manager Tony Johnson.

Medac UK plans to launch Metoject at the British Society for Rheumatology's annual meeting in Glasgow in May. The drug has already been launched in Germany, Spain and Sweden, and the Bell Pottinger campaign will target specialists and GPs in the UK.

The £50,000 win is BP North's first foray into pharma, having worked on NHS contracts including Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology and the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic and District Hospital NHS Trust.

'The marketing director lives nearby so it makes sense to head the operation here,' said BP North account manager Alison Duffy.

In the UK there are an estimated 387,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis – increasing by 12,000 every year.

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