GCI backs Abbott’s Norvir HIV treatment

Abbott Laboratories has signed up GCI on a six-figure fee to manage a largescale PR push for its HIV treatment Norvir.

Abbott Laboratories has signed up GCI on a six-figure fee to manage

a largescale PR push for its HIV treatment Norvir.



The agency pitched against healthcare specialist Shire Hall

Communications to work for the product, a protease inhibitor which uses

the generic name ritonavir. The incumbent agency, Hill and Knowlton,

declined to re-pitch for the account.



GCI has been briefed to talk to both patients and community groups as

well as the specialist clinicians who treat HIV sufferers. It will also

tackle issues management for Abbott.



’It is a very complex market which changes rapidly as new drugs and

clinical evidence comes through,’ explained GCI head of healthcare

Catherine Raba.



Norvir has been on the market for less than a year. It competes with

rival protease inhibitors saquinavir which is manufactured by Roche and

Merck’s product indinavir.



Protease inhibitors block the action of HIV protease, rendering the

enzyme incapable of processing the poly-protein required for the

production of mature HIV particles. As a result, the spread of HIV from

cell to cell is slowed and the progression of the disease delayed.

Reserchers have found the most effective treatments for HIV by combining

different protease inhibitors and other AIDS drugs.



GCI’s nine-strong healthcare team has a fee income of around pounds

500,000.



Other names on its client list include also works for Novartis and

Searle.



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