NEW YORK: Merck & Co. has tapped GCI Group for work on advocacy efforts, state education, and professional and scientific communications for its vaccine, Gardasil.
The vaccine guards against certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is known to cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer.
The new account will not impact Edelman’s role; that agency will continue to work on disease awareness and other aspects of communications for the pharmaceutical company. Edelman has worked on the Gardasil account since 2004. Kelley Dougherty, director of public affairs for vaccines and infectious diseases at Merck, confirmed the addition of GCI.
Gardasil was launched to great fanfare earlier this year, but became a point of controversy following Texas Governor Rick Perry’s executive order mandating the vaccine for school girls. In the aftermath, Merck agreed to halt its lobbying efforts.
2008 promises to be a crucial year in determining the success of the vaccine, with GlaxoSmithKline set to launch a competing vaccine called Cerverix.