Merck raids GCI for media relations chief

New Jersey: Global pharma firm Merck & Co has poached an executive director of media relations from one of its PR agencies.

GCI Group director of corporate communications and media relations Ray Kerins is to join the New Jersey-based company on 30 January.
Merck, rocked in recent years by the Vioxx scandal, said it had been looking to fill the role for 'more than a few months'.

'We're not happy to see Kerins leave,' said GCI Group global president and CEO Jeff Hunt. 'But the good news is that he's going to be our client, so we feel he'll be close.'

Merck made global headlines in 2004 when it was forced to engage in the biggest-ever drug withdrawal. Its blockbuster arthritis drug, Vioxx, was found to double the risk of heart disease and stroke. The case resulted in such interest that Merck set up a dedicated Vioxx media relations team.

Merck was forced into another embarrassing withdrawal this month when a batch of angina-treating Slozem capsules were mislabelled on the foil as 240mg. They were in fact stronger 300mg doses.

Last month Merck announced a restructuring programme in which it will focus research on nine therapeutic areas. Under the scheme,
designed to boost profitability, greater focus will be given to the areas of Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, vaccines, obesity, cancer, pain and sleep disorder.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.