DeVries gets even healthier with three new account wins

NEW YORK: DeVries PR has won three new healthcare accounts,

developing programs for Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and

Pfizer. Together, the accounts are worth between dollars 4 million and

dollars 5 million in fees.

The news comes as a reward for the work that the firm has carried out to

build its healthcare division, adding new staff as well as new


For Bristol-Myers, DeVries will be working on Glucophage XR and

Glucovance, which treat type 2 diabetes. Glaxo has retained the agency

to work on Imitrex, a migraine medication. The firm previously worked

with Glaxo on media relations for the launch of Relanza, which treats


'There are two things we are doing with these clients,' said Madeline de

Vries, the firm's CEO. 'One is making sure that, whether for drugs or a

disease, we can speak about it to the media in scientific terms. The

second thing is taking all of that and turning it into creative ways to

talk to the consumer media.'

De Vries said targeting consumers is one of the most important

priorities in healthcare PR today. 'It seems to be what the healthcare

companies want,' she said.

She also said that healthcare companies are looking for effective ways

of reaching women, a constituency that is growing more and more

important to the industry.

Pfizer has retained DeVries to work on external affairs programs for at

least two brands. The agency declined to say which brands will initially

be included, but said the work will primarily involve developing

relationships with special interest groups on both the consumer and

professional sides.

'This is the type of situation where you can forge new ground and

communicate directly with a large universe of targeted people,' de Vries


DeVries will also be developing a series of career guides for Pfizer as

part of its academic outreach, providing advice on those entering

nursing, pharmacy and doctoring.

'We are writing the guides for Pfizer, and interviewing people in these

careers,' she explained. The guides will be distributed through special

events and targeted mailings.

DeVries has recently been beefing up its healthcare team. The firm has

just hired Andrea Johnson, formerly a VP with Bayer Diagnostics, as

SVP/division director for the practice.

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