Pfizer hires Reynolds-Mackenzie

Pfizer has contracted Reynolds-Mackenzie to handle UK PR for its diabetes product Exubera – hailed by diabetes charities and scientists as a medical breakthrough.

Exubera is an insulin inhaler which combats both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It costs more than current insulin treatments (£1,100 a year per patient against about £300), but means that patients do not have to use daily injections of insulin.

The European Medicines Evaluation Agency granted marketing approval for the brand in January 2006, and last November NICE reversed its own initial decision to refuse to recommend Exubera for NHS patients on cost-effectiveness grounds.

It is thought that Reynolds-Mackenzie’s media relations campaign will include promoting key messages around the brand, such as its ability to improve patients’ quality of life and the fact that it is the first alternative to daily injections since the 1920s. Diabetes is often poorly controlled because patients delay insulin treatment due to fear of – or pain from – injections. In clinical trials, three times as many patients chose to start on insulin when the inhaled Exubera was made available.

Reynolds-Mackenzie co-director Eva Reynolds declined to comment on the win, while Vicki Trinder, comms manager for the brand at Pfizer UK, did not return PRWeek’s calls.

Reynolds-Mackenzie already handles comms for Pfizer’s Lyrica, which treats diabetic nerve pain.
The healthcare specialist’s other existing clients include Cephalon’s Myocet and Targretin, the World Cancer Research Fund, Cardinal Health and MedTel International.

Meanwhile, Natalie Lewis has joined the agency as senior account executive. She was an account executive at HSD, responsible for managing media relations for Forest Laboratories’ OTC brands.

Reynolds-Mackenzie, foun­ded in 2004 by Reynolds and co-director Alison Mackenzie, handled the UK launch campaign for Pfizer’s cancer drug Sutent last year. In 2005, it won a three-way pitch to handle UK comms for its Aromasin cancer drug. The pharma giant hit the headlines in January when it announced it was to cut a tenth of its workforce, with 10,000 jobs going worldwide.

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