TOP 50 HEALTHCARE PR: Side effects - Healthcare agencies are adapting to the needs of a globalised industry by broadening their traditional range of skills to include more mainstream offerings

The past year has been one of significant change for the healthcare PR sector. One of the main areas of debate has been the blurring of the lines between pharmaceuticals, food science and biotechnology. This has meant that traditional healthcare agencies are finding their work becoming more ’full service’ as it overlaps into new areas of business. They are now having to be strong in consumer and business-to-business PR as well as healthcare.

The past year has been one of significant change for the healthcare

PR sector. One of the main areas of debate has been the blurring of the

lines between pharmaceuticals, food science and biotechnology. This has

meant that traditional healthcare agencies are finding their work

becoming more ’full service’ as it overlaps into new areas of business.

They are now having to be strong in consumer and business-to-business PR

as well as healthcare.

The growing use of the internet was one of the most significant new

trends in healthcare PR in 1999. At the Shire Hall Group, where fee

income was up 40 per cent, CEO Margot James says: ’From a small base in

1998 our internet business really boomed last year. Clients were using

the internet to develop on-line communities and create genuine dialogue,

rather than just as poster sites.’

Cohn and Wolfe was another agency benefiting from its new media skills.

’We did a lot more on the new media front, including webcasts,

monitoring chat rooms and reporting back to clients, and banner

advertising,’ reports executive director, healthcare, Angie Searle.

The rise in influence of the internet reflects the increasing importance

of consumers in healthcare marketing over the past year, another boon

for those agencies with consumer expertise. Searle says: ’We’ve been

doing a lot of work driving brand messages to patients to encourage them

to go to their doctor to talk about treatment,’ says Searle.

One of the big issues in healthcare PR over the past year has continued

to be direct-to-consumer marketing. Regulations still forbid direct

communication to consumers about prescription drugs, but pharmaceutical

companies are now finding ways of getting round this. In 1999, for

example, Lowe Fusion worked on the first migraine awareness advertising

campaign in Europe, which was aired in the UK on Meridian


’This was a co-ordinated activity which involved not only patient groups

but also doctors working in this area so they felt fully on board, and

it was backed up by press and broadcast media relations,’ explains Lowe

Fusion MD, Julia Cook.

James agrees that disease awareness campaigns can be a powerful way of

increasing sales for certain products. ’Many people soldier on with a

medical problem because they are not aware anything can be done. Once

companies advertise that conditions can be treated and people get more

information it can lead to a huge amount of latent interest being

expressed,’ she believes.

Direct-to-consumer communication may be in its infancy, but many in

healthcare PR are confident it will lead to more work. ’Large scale

communications activity needs to get underway in advance of advertising

campaigns, laying the foundations and building support. Once the ad

campaign is running we can also build on it through media activity,’

says Ralph Sutton, MD of Burson-Marsteller’s UK healthcare practice.

It may still be some time, however, before direct-to-consumer

advertising of branded products is permitted. ’The internet and consumer

demand for information is going to make the current regulations in

Europe unworkable, but it’s going to be a long slog to get the

regulations changed. The whole EU directive will need to be changed, and

this would take at least four years,’ says James.

One of the inevitable consequences of the power of the internet is the

increasing globalisation of healthcare PR programmes. ’Only two years

ago international work was about 25 per cent of our total fee income,

last year it was nearly 70 per cent. There is increasing recognition

that you have to have international co-ordination for global products,’

says Cook. An example of this is Lowe Fusion’s work for Novartis to

ensure a consistency of approach across international markets.

The PRCA Healthcare Practice Group’s audit of healthcare agencies in

December showed that despite the globalisation of the healthcare

industry, 77 per cent of accounts held were for UK work.

And against the increase in international work, agencies say they are

keen to maintain a balance with UK work. Searle at Cohn and Wolfe backs

this up: ’Our client base increased significantly but the split between

UK and international work stayed the same. We don’t want any one area to

be too big.’

Another aspect of globalisation was continued merger activity in the

pharmaceutical industry, including Aventis being created from the merger

of Rhone Poulenc Rorer and Hoechst Marion Roussel.

However, such mergers seem to have had little effect on PR activity - so

far. ’If we end up with 20 large pharmaceutical companies, corporate

image and positioning will become very important. As yet companies are

still very product-focused,’ says James. Merger activity could also

allow healthcare PR specialists to broaden their field of activity into

the change management sector, communicating the impact of mergers to


Another key factor which has dominated the past year’s developments in

healthcare communications was the dramatic changes which have been made

to the workings of the NHS and Department of Health, including the

creation last April of the National Institute of Clinical


This was set up as a special health authority with the power to decide

whether drugs should be approved for NHS reimbursement, and is already

having a knock-on effect on PR for new products. NICE’s refusal to

reimburse Relenza because of insufficient clinical evidence about the

effectiveness of the new flu treatment showed the importance of

presenting the right data in the right form, opening up new

opportunities for PR.

Prescribing decisions have traditionally been made by GPs and hospital

doctors alone, with some feedback from local authorities. However, the

introduction of NICE and NSFs (National Service Frameworks) mean that,

increasingly, clinicians will be pressured to prescribe according to

these guidelines.

Countrywide Porter Novelli director of healthcare Pippa Evans says:

’While certain medical bodies are still fighting for clinical freedom,

it is inevitable that NICE’s recommendations will eventually be adopted.

This is good news for some products but bad news for others.’

The advent of NICE and changes in the NHS have also seen increasing

demand for public affairs consultancy in the healthcare sector.

’Companies that previously didn’t engage in dialogue have woken up to

the fact that the UK is not as easy a market to operate in as it once

was. Talking to Government is now of critical importance,’ says Tamsin

Richmond-Watson, who heads the healthcare practice at APCO UK, which now

accounts for 22 per cent of the specialist public affairs agency’s total

fee income.

The NHS itself has had its own communications challenges in the past

year. NHS specialist agency Jonathan Street PR had a busy year in 1999

as the Government sought to put through a wide-ranging modernisation

programme in the face of a continually critical press. ’It’s been a big

challenge to try to close the credibility gap between some of the

stories you get in the press about things such as bed closures and the

huge changes that are happening in the NHS,’ says Jonathan Street PR

director, Mark Purcell.

The importance of staying in touch with the Government is becoming even

more critical as it prepares to publish its five-year national plan for

the NHS in July. The Government is now engaged in a consultation

programme to seek the views of the public and the one million people who

work in the NHS.

The rise in patient power, and the increasing access of consumers to

healthcare information has also made its mark on healthcare PR in the

past year. At B-M, Sutton says: ’Until recently patient groups were very

quiet. They have moved from being support groups to being far more

powerful advocates for their members in terms of lobbying and raising

their profile in the media. I think we will do a lot more work with

patient groups, particularly in therapeutic areas where there are new

drugs coming through.’

The ongoing saga about rationing medicines and treatments has provided

another opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to forge links with

patient groups. ’We’ve been doing campaigning work advising patient

groups and companies on who they should be putting pressure on to raise

the profile of the treatment being rationed,’ says Richmond-Watson.

The changes continuing to take place in healthcare indicate a bright

future for PR. GCI Healthcare managing director Catherine Warne, who

also chairs the PRCA healthcare practice group, says: ’PR is becoming

much more integrated in the marketing mix. We’re working a lot earlier

with new drugs, often two years or more before launch, the relationship

is going on much longer, and we’re getting involved at a much deeper

level with the marketing team.’


RANK    AGENCY                            HEALTHCARE FEE INCOME

                                                 (POUNDS)              %

99  98                                          99            98  GROWTH

1   1   Medical Action                   9,900,000     7,520,000      32


2   2   The Shire Hall Group *1          5,903,000     4,222,000      40

3   4   Meditech Media                   3,883,000     2,958,000      31

4   3   Hill and Knowlton*               3,370,380     3,028,350      11

5   5   Shandwick International*         2,083,920     2,586,300     -19

6   7   Fleishman-Hillard*2              2,056,235     2,256,245      -9

7   9   Grayling Group*                  1,829,173     1,779,910       3

8   8   Holmes and Marchant              1,800,570     2,004,990     -10

9   16  GCI UK/APCO*                     1,778,098     1,039,038      71

10  6   Ketchum*                         1,761,296     2,401,982     -27

11  11  Cohn and Wolfe*                  1,703,498     1,565,764       9

12  21  Charles Barker BSMG*             1,669,598       673,897     148

13  10  Munro & Forster                  1,610,122     1,609,155       0


14  13  Countrywide Porter Novelli*      1,566,741     1,433,009       9

15  17  Edelman PR Worldwide*            1,440,113       982,722      47

16  12  Lowe Fusion Healthcare           1,320,537     1,478,293     -11

17  15  Ruder Finn                       1,288,500     1,204,453       7

18  14  The Workhouse                    1,245,923     1,220,845       2

19  19  Harvard Public Relations           873,244       787,140      11

20  18  Biss Lancaster*3                   871,905       927,616      -6

21  20  Sante Communications               781,920       766,761       2

22  24  The Euro PR Group*4                594,862       403,657      47

23  -   Ogilvy Public Relations*5          585,600             -       -

24  -   Key Communicatons*                 549,990             -       -

25  23  Jonathan Street                    525,542       460,748      14

        Public Relations

26  22  Manning Selvage and Lee*           518,040       535,500      -3

27  25  BMA Communications                 414,692       355,016      17

28  -   Barclay Stratton*                  374,811             -       -

29  28  Nexus Choat *                      372,600       297,920      25

30  27  Jo Spink Public Relations          339,604       316,665       7

RANK    AGENCY                         TOTAL PR  STAFF  % FEE   LOCATION

                                     FEE INCOME        INCOME

99  98                                       99            99

1   1   Medical Action                9,900,000    126    100     Surrey


2   2   The Shire Hall Group *1       5,903,000     75    100     London

3   4   Meditech Media                3,883,000    140    100     London

4   3   Hill and Knowlton*           25,926,000    330     13     London

5   5   Shandwick International*     26,049,000    359      8     London

6   7   Fleishman-Hillard*2           3,607,429     61     57     London

7   9   Grayling Group*               8,794,100    108     21     London

8   8   Holmes and Marchant           3,831,000     41     47     London

9   16  GCI UK/APCO*                 11,471,600    167     16     London

10  6   Ketchum*                      8,806,480    143     20     London

11  11  Cohn and Wolfe*               6,309,253     83     27     London

12  21  Charles Barker BSMG*          9,821,166    108     17     London

13  10  Munro & Forster               2,300,174     47     70     London


14  13  Countrywide Porter Novelli*  19,584,259    280      8       Oxon

15  17  Edelman PR Worldwide*         9,000,705    100     16     London

16  12  Lowe Fusion Healthcare        1,320,537     19    100     Surrey

17  15  Ruder Finn                    1,789,583     24     72     London

18  14  The Workhouse                 1,245,923     11    100     Surrey

19  19  Harvard Public Relations      4,596,023     61     19      Middx

20  18  Biss Lancaster*3              9,687,832    149      9     London

21  20  Sante Communications            781,920     15    100     London

22  24  The Euro PR Group*4           1,189,724     21     50     London

23  -   Ogilvy Public Relations*5     4,880,000     63     12     London

24  -   Key Communicatons*            6,111,000     69      9     London

25  23  Jonathan Street                 656,927     13     80     London

        Public Relations

26  22  Manning Selvage and Lee*      4,317,000     60     12     London

27  25  BMA Communications            1,884,964     17     22     London

28  -   Barclay Stratton*             2,677,224     38     14     London

29  28  Nexus Choat *                 3,726,000     65     10     London

30  27  Jo Spink Public Relations       390,349     11     87     London

All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 1999 Fee income = PR

fees + mark-up *Denotes PRCA member 1 Includes figures from 4D

Communications 2 Includes figures from CPR 3 Formerly listed as Euro

RSCG International Communications 4 Formerly listed as EMC Euro PR 5

Includes figures from Sector PR and Magellan PR


RANK    AGENCY                            HEALTHCARE FEE INCOME

                                                 (POUNDS)              %

99  98                                          99            98  GROWTH

31  29  Myriad Public Relations            333,950       270,352      24

32  26  Henderson Group One                326,274       316,749       3

33  33  Beattie Media                      295,000       206,000      43

34  36  Barkers Public Relations*          265,106       167,680      58

35  38  Square Mile Communications         264,909       151,056      75

36  37  The Red Consultancy                240,946       163,556      47

37  34  CCD Healthcare PR                  236,000       205,000      15

38  -   Willoughby Public Relations*       217,871             -       -

39  -   The Communication Group*           188,050        68,420     175

40  -   Jackie Cooper PR                   176,170             -       -

41  39  Staniforth Public Relations*       125,260       124,070       1

42  46  Lawson Clarke*                      88,779        63,366      40

43  -   Charlton Communications             82,373             -       -

44  50  Barrett Dixon Bell*                 81,900        44,800      83

45  44  Wyatt International                 77,983        70,255      11

46  -   Sinclair Mason                      75,904             -       -

47  49  Keene Public Affairs Consultants*   38,131        45,391     -16

48  -   Hobsbawm Macaulay Comms             34,767        22,736      53

49  -   Catalyst Communications             33,569        33,407       0

50  48  Audax Communications*               23,577        49,260     -52

RANK    AGENCY                         TOTAL PR  STAFF  % FEE   LOCATION

                                     FEE INCOME        INCOME

99  98                                       99            99

31  29  Myriad Public Relations         878,817     23     38      Cambs

32  26  Henderson Group One             326,274      9    100     Surrey

33  33  Beattie Media                 5,900,000     93      5    Glasgow

34  36  Barkers Public Relations*     2,209,215     41     12      Glas/


35  38  Square Mile Communications    2,649,088     36     10     London

36  37  The Red Consultancy           4,015,769     77      6     London

37  34  CCD Healthcare PR               236,000      6    100     London

38  -   Willoughby Public Relations*    777,000     26     28      B’ham

39  -   The Communication Group*      3,761,000     46      5     London

40  -   Jackie Cooper PR              3,523,403     68      5     London

41  39  Staniforth Public Relations*  2,505,200     44      5  M’chester

42  46  Lawson Clarke*                  443,893     14     20       Glos

43  -   Charlton Communications         823,730     24     10       Oxon

44  50  Barrett Dixon Bell*             546,000     17     15   Cheshire

45  44  Wyatt International             779,827     14     10      B’ham

46  -   Sinclair Mason                1,518,076     19      5      Leeds

47  49  Keene Public Affairs            476,637      8      8     London


48  -   Hobsbawm Macaulay Comms         695,349     22      5     London

49  -   Catalyst Communications         559,479     15      6     London

50  48  Audax Communications*           471,539     13      5      N’ham

All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 1999 Fee income = PR

fees + mark-up *Denotes PRCA member


pounds 9,900,000

MAC’s impressive fee income growth of 32 per cent confirms its number

one position at the top of the table. UK managing director Gary Hobbs

identifies the key drivers of this success as his agency’s global

outlook and its rapid conversion of pre-launch awareness to post-launch

product usage. This is expressed by MAC’s new brand statement, ’Create

the Future’, which was developed by Hobbs, on his arrival from Franklin

Scientific Projects at the beginning of 1999. ’It reflects the belief

that powerful healthcare communications can determine marketing outcomes

if properly planned and powerfully implemented,’ he says.

This new company vision has been rolled out through an extensive

employee development programme and some new blood. Last April, Smita

Desai arrived as director of strategic business development from the

Shire Hall Group and in January, Jasmine Zidane joined the agency as

director of scientific services from Oxford Clinical Communications.

Throughout 1999, MAC extended its new media activities for clients such

as Roche with its carvedilol heart treatment, and developed a new brand

alignment process called Brand Syzygy. ’Any agency which doesn’t

understand that the traditional barriers between PR, branding and

education have been blown away by the need to be on message through all

communications activities will be left behind in the 21st Century,’ says



pounds 5,903,000

A healthy fee income rise of 40 per cent to pounds 5,903,000 means that

Shire Hall returns to form after a disappointing 1998 and retains its

second spot in the table. A major factor behind this success was the

complete turnaround of medical education arm 4D Communications based in


After a dip in revenues in 1998, 4D grew its business by 93 per cent

last year, and raked in pounds 1.2 million in fee income.In addition,

Shire Hall benefited from an increased commitment to web-based services

for clients, including webcasting from international conferences. ’We

now have ten clients who buy new media services, compared to maybe two a

year ago,’ says group chief executive Margot James.

Similarly, organic growth was strong, with SmithKline Beecham expanding

its international and UK vaccine programme. The agency also fought off

fierce competition to retain one of its longest-standing accounts,

Pharmacia and Upjohn’s anti-smoking aid Nicorette. Shire Hall

experienced some personnel changes in 1999, promoting Lois Hall to MD of

its campaigns arm, Shire Hall International, following the departure of

Smita Desai to Medical Action Communications. In October, the

international division appointed three new programme directors. Two -

Stephanie Snow and Jacqui Brommell - were recruited externally, from

Homes and Marchant and CPR respectively.

The third, Angela Van den Berghe, was an internal promotion. However,

the biggest change for Shire Hall last year was its acquisition by WPP

in August. ’We had been an independent for 13 years, but to expand with

a strong US programme, we felt the time was right to sell the business,’

says James.


pounds 3,883,000

It was a good year for MediTech Media, which moved up the league table

on the back of wins including the global PR account for Avandia and the

launch of the Alexander Network web site. It was also an active year for

the agency internally. An OTC division was launched and its board of

directors was restructured to create a stronger platform to drive the

brand forward.

The last year has seen the agency concentrate its efforts in new

technology, with the development of web sites, webcasting, educational

and interactive CD ROMs. ’Our expertise will help differentiate us from

other agencies, which often have to outsource out such work,’ says

director Jane Nichols. ’We believe webcasting will come into its own in

the next year.’

Nichols puts much of the agency’s success down to the scientific

expertise of staff, as well as its independence. ’In a time of mass

mergers, we believe our independence is allowing us to maintain our

focus on client business. It is a real strength as it allows us to be

flexible, builds morale and really allows us to develop ’out of the box’

creative strategies.’

Nichols foresees a number of changes in the sector, particularly in the

consumer field. ’As the consumer develops an increasing thirst for

information, OTC marketing will have to become much more professionally

driven, with a responsibility to enhance understanding among healthcare

professionals and consumers,’ she says. Nichols also believes

self-medication will become an increasing trend, with the Government

already considering how to make certain drugs available without a

prescription, thereby freeing up healthcare resources.


pounds 3,370,380

Hill and Knowlton dropped one place in the table but still had healthy

fee income growth of 11 per cent for its healthcare work. According to

UK health and pharmaceutical practice managing director Wendy Mair, this

performance was the result of an even split between organic growth from

existing clients who increased their spend and successful new business

growth. ’More importantly, client satisfaction increased,’ she says

’demonstrated by our client retention rate of 100 per cent.’

In 1999 Hill and Knowlton undertook two major initiatives to consolidate

its healthcare offering and anticipate the needs of its clients. In

April, it launched a medical education and publications planning

company, Health Learning Systems, which now brings in around pounds 1.5

million per year. And in the autumn, the agency formally integrated its

pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions to create a health and

pharmaceutical practice. In September, Mair moved from H&K’s marketing

communications division to head this new practice and replace former UK

healthcare chief Karen Moyse who left to spend more time with her


Head of European Health and Pharmaceutical Practice, Dr Martin Godfrey

says: ’Against the backdrop of globalisation and the move to direct to

consumer marketing, the pharmaceutical industry now has to take a leaf

out of the book of the big FMCG brands. It needs to look at more

sophisticated ways of building brands within the context of treatment



pounds 2,056,235

Fleishman-Hillard moves up in this year’s table as a result of its

acquisition of international healthcare specialist CPR Worldwide. Last

year, CPR had seventh place in the table, while F-H was at 35. The deal,

signed in October, re-establishes the agency’s European healthcare

practice and matches F-H’s strong healthcare practice in the US.

However, CPR Worldwide has kept its company founders and directors,

Scott Clark, Dr Steve Carroll and Moira Gitsham. In addition, it remains

a separate brand, despite the arrival last month of healthcare

specialist Paul Blackburn as F-H UK managing director. ’We are still CPR

Worldwide and will continue to be so,’ says joint CEO Dr Steve


The agency gained some high-profile new accounts, including the launch

of Astra-Zeneca’s proton pump inhibitor for acid-related disorders,

Johnson and Johnson’s anaemia and fatigue treatment for cancer

sufferers, and an anti-fungal drug for Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Carroll

is bullish about the future. ’While CPR in its own right did not

experience fee income growth, we did finish the year in a strong

position, with our order book for 2000 fuller than it has ever been in

our history,’ he says.


pounds 1,800,570

The big news for the Holmes and Marchant group in 1999 was the merger of

its advertising arm, Holmes and Marchant Healthcare with its PR

healthcare offering through Holmes and Marchant Counsel, to create a new

integrated marketing division - Holmes and Marchant Healthcare

Communications. This has enabled the agency to offer broader marketing

skills across branding, advertising, events, medical education, PR and

issues management.

’We recognised the changes affecting our clients, such as greater

consumer power and the shifts in the NHS, and as a consequence we now

have more flexibility to offer integrated communications programmes to

our clients,’ says Holmes and Marchant Healthcare Communications

managing director Gill Markham.

The agency will have to wait until next year’s league table to see how

this reorganisation pays off, as healthcare income for 1999 was

disappointing. The agency managed to retain its position at number eight

despite a dip in fee income of ten per cent.

The agency gained some corporate identity work from Cardionetics - which

makes devices to detect abnormal heartbeats. The agency’s consumer focus

remained strong, with organic growth coming from Stafford-Miller’s

indigestion treatment Setlers, allergy product Piriton and sleep aid



pounds 1,320,537

Lowe Fusion Healthcare slid down four places in the table with fee

income down 11 per cent. In fact, this is Lowe Fusion’s second

consecutive year of income loss. But managing director Julia Cook says:

’1999 was a good year for our reputation and we consolidated various

areas of the business.’ The agency also strengthened its international

capabilities last year, with international work accounting for 70 per

cent of its business, compared to 25 per cent two years ago. This growth

came from a number of clients including Astra-Zeneca which put global

accounts for a new asthma treatment and a breast cancer treatment the

agency’s way.

Personnel stayed fairly constant last year, with Maggie Malpas-Spencer

joining the agency in October as business development director. After a

disappointing period of fee income, Cook is confident that this move

will help the agency to build on its reputation for 2000.

Although much of Lowe Fusion’s business is in the ethical healthcare

arena, it also works for OTC and consumer clients, including Whitehall

Laboratories and its Anadin pain reliever. In addition, the agency has a

Manchester operation that was set up in 1998, to help service clients

such as Astra-Zeneca, whose international headquarters is in



pounds 1,288,500

Despite its corporate and consumer PR capabilities, in 1999, Ruder Finn

decided to focus on developing a direction for its healthcare business.

This is one of the reasons behind its solid health fee income growth of

seven per cent. ’We had a great year,’ says Ruder Finn UK managing

director Alison Miles. ’But at a strategic level, we were very selective

in deciding which areas of business to develop and which pitches to go

for.’ This resulted in a 75 per cent success rate in pitching for new


With sister agencies in continental Europe and the US, a key element for

the UK office was building a two-way flow between US and European

clients. By September 1999, this brought nine new income streams from

five existing clients. These included Novartis Consumer Health, which

expanded its international medical nutrition and corporate work with the

agency into the UK, and awarded the London office further international

work on its ethical dermatology product portfolio and IBS (Irritable

Bowel Syndrome) treatment, Zelmac.

Throughout 1999, the agency continued its relationship with Pfizer and

its lifestyle drug Viagra, and picked up the pharmaceutical giant’s

schizophrenia treatment Zeldox. Other important new business wins

included Astra-Zeneca, which put two pre-launch programmes the agency’s

way with another account due later this year.

However, Ruder Finn has also spent the past 18 months expanding its

healthcare offering into broader areas. ’It’s no longer enough for a

agency to be niche, you need to be able to offer a full range of

services,’ says Miles.

In 1999, this strategic outlook resulted in the appointment of three

client services directors: Judith Cranford, formerly with the National

Society for Epilepsy; Mike Dixon from Burson-Marsteller; and Alison

Denham, an internal promotion.

For 2000, the agency has made a greater crossover into the corporate and

consumer arena, picking up two OTC product accounts - antiseptic cream

Germolene and piles treatment Germaloids - from Bayer.


pounds 781,920

Sante spent much of the year consolidating its business base among

existing clients, which Aventis Pharma, Pfizer and Schering-Plough,

which led to fee income growth of only two per cent. During the year,

Sante introduced a satisfaction programme for clients, including

elements such as disease knowledge, strategic thinking and creativity.

Managing director Liz Shanahan says: ’It has allowed us to evaluate our

weaker areas and address them via targeted training and development

programmes, or by changing our practice.’

In June, Bryony Box joined the agency as an account director,

specialising in the NHS. Like many in the sector, Shanahan admits the

agency has been affected by the difficulty in recruiting and retaining

good staff.

Shanahan predicts direct to consumer advertising will increase the focus

on communications rather than decrease it. The agency recently worked

for the National Osteoporosis Society and Procter and Gamble

Pharmaceuticals on a joint DTC advertising campaign for

osteoporosis.However she says the slew of mergers and acquisitions in

the pharmaceutical industry have had a negative effect: ’The pharma

industry mergers have caused some disruption, including client changes,

distracted clients and budget freezes for long periods of time.’


pounds 525,542

Jonathan Street PR was established five years ago by Jonathan Street and

co-director Mark Purcell, both of whom had worked for the NHS since

1981. The agency now has 13 staff and had fee income growth of 14 per

cent last year. In February last year the agency was hired by RSL

Steeper, a leading rehabilitation and prosthetic design and supply

company. In May the agency won a contract to provide PR services to the

Camden and Islington Health Action Zone, a multi-partner health

improvement agency, and in July, it was engaged by BMI London Region to

help raise the profile of the independent hospital group.

An existing client is the London Regional Office of the NHS Executive,

for which the agency provides a 24-hour, 365-day service for all

London’s NHS organisations. The agency helped deal with the fallout from

the Paddington rail crash and the Soho nail bomb attack and was involved

with the Harold Shipman case.

’We worked with West Pennine Health Authority throughout the trial and

organised the press conference the day the verdict came in. Through a

policy of openness, we helped establish some key points, including that

nothing will stop a determined serial killer except for vigilance.’

Street believes the next year will be exceptionally busy for the NHS.

’We will see more emphasis on quick access to care as part of the

consumerist agenda of the Government, allied to pressure to improve

services for key patients, such as the elderly and those with cancer and

heart disease.’


pounds 339,604

Last year consumer healthcare specialist Jo Spink PR celebrated its

tenth anniversary. There were no client losses during the year and the

agency gained a raft of new accounts on the back of existing clients, to

grow by seven per cent. Director Jo Spink says one of the most exciting

gains in terms of income and breadth of activities was Motilium 10 from

Johnson and Johnson MSD Consumer Pharmaceuticals’ brand for the stomach

condition dysmotility. The campaign led to a joint venture with Prima

magazine. In September Jo Spink PR was appointed international marketing

and PR adviser for Collagen Aesthetics International. The campaign

involved the development and implementation of a strategic

communications plan for Europe which embraced advertising as well as PR.

There were a number of newcomers to the agency. Sarah Winterbottom

joined as an agency director from Charles Barker, while Anna Bunketorp

joined as an account manager on OTC brands from Hill and Knowlton.

Elsewhere, Pollyanna Cooper returned from maternity leave to take up the

role of new business director.

Looking ahead to the next year, Spink says: ’We are well positioned to

cope with the increasing trend for DTC promotion of prescription-only

medicines and the PR challenges this presents. In addition, we foresee

considerable growth in agency income through our affiliation with

consumer specialist agencies throughout Europe.’


pounds 326,274

Henderson Group One had fairly static growth of just three per cent

during 1999, despite winning three major accounts in 1999. The first

came when it was hired to organise meetings on pain clinics in

veterinary practice for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. The second was a

new business win from Schering-Plough Animal Health to develop a

programme to promote its participation in the world’s biggest veterinary

conference in Birmingham.

Thirdly, Henderson was hired by pet food company James Wellbeloved to

educate the veterinary profession in the importance of hypo-allergenic

foods to deal with dermatological problems in dogs. ’For us, healthcare

is a broad church and includes animal health,’ says Nick Henderson,

former veterinary surgeon and chairman of Henderson Group One.

Highlights of the year include winning the PR Week Healthcare Award for

the its work on the centenary of aspirin for client the European Aspirin


Henderson predicts healthcare PR will become more competitive. ’As

chairman of the Health and Medical Special Interest Group of the IPR, I

am impressed by the large number of agencies now attending our monthly

meetings,’ he says. ’They are hungry for knowledge and training for

their younger staff members, and there has been an explosion of interest

in all healthcare matters, from the running of the NHS to the public

relations strategy for the manufacturers of Viagra. This trend can only

grow, despite major mergers at international level.’


pounds 236,000

It was a good year for CCD which saw fee income rise by 15 per cent on

the previous year to pounds 236,000. The agency, which plans consumer,

business-to-business, public affairs, crisis PR, trade and corporate PR

campaigns on behalf of its clients, has experienced an annual growth

rate of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent since it was established in

1992. MD Justin Clark says the success of the last year was largely due

to CCD’s increasing reputation in healthcare PR.

The agency has also taken a proactive approach to client referrals. ’We

now write into contracts with existing clients that they must be

available to speak to potential clients about our performance four times

a year,’ says Clark.

CCD did not experience any client losses during last year. It racked up

a number of new wins, including The Fitness League, Added Dimension

Dentistry (dental facelifts), and Tony Buzan (a memory improvement


However, the year’s highlight came when the agency won its first major

pharmaceutical brand - Covonia Cough Medicine.

- Last year, number two agency the Shire Hall Group gained pounds 2.2

million of new accounts and added 11 clients to its books. These

included Schering Health Care which, in February, put its oral

contraceptive portfolio the agency’s way, Schering-Plough which awarded

Shire Hall its new asthma product, Asmanax and Bristol-Myers Squibb with

an account for its anti-hypertensive drug Omapatrilat

- MD of number 37 agency CCD Healthcare, Justin Clark says the focus of

2000 will be racking up more pharmaceutical brands and securing campaign

coverage for the internet arms of traditional healthcare companies. This

latest venture was set up last year, when the agency launched an

internet service for health insurance company Western Provident

Association, called

- MAC embarked on extensive programmes for several new blue-chip clients

last year, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo Wellcome and Johnson

and Johnson. However, it also maintained a clear focus on the global

communications needs of its existing client base, including Pfizer,which

has been with the agency for over ten years

- In 1999 Ruder Finn apppointed three client services directors: Judith

Cranford, formerly with the National Society for Epilepsy; Mike Dixon

from Burson-Marsteller; and Alison Denham, who was an internal


- Key new business wins for Hill and Knowlton included Glaxo Wellcome’s

Zovirax and Peconase, plus the pharmaceutical giant’s anti-viral

influenza treatment Relenza. In January, Johnson and Johnson put its

skin adhesive Dermabond account H&K’s way. Organic business growth came

from an ongoing international campaign for Durex and public affairs work

for Procter and Gamble in the cardiovascular arena. However, the agency

suffered a major loss when Astra Pharmaceuticals dropped its antacid

Losec account

- Fleishman-Hillard-owned CPR kicked off the new millennium with an

appointment from the World Health Organisation to brand its department

of surveillance and response. This was won in a pitch against 11 other

agencies, with a remit to build awareness of WHO’s role in monitoring

and responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases including HIV,

malaria, tuberculosis and the ebola virus

- Sante Communications has been striving for excellence internally. In

September,it was awarded Investors in People accreditation. It has also

developed its own training resource, the Sante Fact File, to promote

knowledge-sharing and to offer employees a ’bible’ of PR techniques,

based on scientific data and industry issues. Finally, a fast track

programme has been developed for promising employees.

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