Generic-drug body ramps up comms efforts with top in-house hires

WASHINGTON: The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) made its first move towards formalizing an in-house communications team on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON: The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) made its first move towards formalizing an in-house communications team on Wednesday.

The appointments of Christine Simmon, VP of policy and public affairs, and Suzanne Charleston, director of government relations, mark the start of president Kathleen Jaeger's efforts to create a defined communications group.

Since Clay O'Dell, former head of communications, left the organization earlier this year, GPhA has been without a designated communications staff. To date, O'Dell has not been replaced, leaving Simmon and Charleston to handle all in-house relations for the time being. A search for a department head is currently underway.

Citing the newly elected Congress, Jaeger said she brought Simmon and Charleston on board "at a critical time, to ensure that the voice of consumers, who need more timely access to generic medicines, is heard."

Prior to joining GPhA, Simmon was a senior policy analyst for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She also chaired the policy committee for the Rx Health Value Coalition, a group of employers, insurers, unions, providers, and consumer organizations active on pharma issues.

Charleston served as director of government affairs at the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association before accepting the GPhA post.

A spokesperson for the organization explained, "Win, lose, or draw, we were really able to expand the number of people who understand the value of generics in 2002. Now we're looking to build upon that in the coming year with a dedicated communications team in place."

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