Healthcare: Weber Shandwick hires digital specialist

Weber Shandwick has appointed a digital health specialist to give clients 'peace of mind' over the regulatory minefield that governs the pharma industry.

Damien Bonafont, formerly new media consultant at Swiss pharma firm Merck Serono, has been appointed to the newly created role to help ensure compliance of all digital projects for the agency's European clients, with a strong focus on the UK.

James Warren, WS' head of digital for EMEA, said: 'Healthcare comms are sometimes dictated by what the legal team will allow them to do rather than what is the right thing for the brand.

'Damien will work with the health teams across Europe to make sure every programme we have developed respects the regulatory framework and of course drives engagement.'

Bonafont previously worked on Merck Serono's Real MS voices campaign, which encouraged MS patients to submit video entries about the disease. His team heavily moderated the contributions to ensure they complied with regulatory guidelines on marketing products.

WS' digital work has 'increased dramatically' over the past 12 months, according to Lucie Harper, MD of the agency's health practice.

She said: 'Bringing Damien's combination of client and agency experience to the team will ensure we continue to provide our clients with relevant counsel and guidance to navigate this important but complex area.'

Bonafont added: 'The most challenging aspect of working within the health industry is demonstrating a clear return on investment for our clients.'

Bonafont will report to Rach-ael Pay, MD, healthcare Europe.

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