With COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, Debra DeShong takes top strategic comms role at PhRMA

The pharmaceutical trade body brings on DeShong from MGM Resorts International.

Debra DeShong, EVP of public affairs
Debra DeShong, EVP of public affairs

WASHINGTON: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has named Debra DeShong as EVP of public affairs.

Starting in the role in mid-December, DeShong will oversee strategic communications for PhRMA. She is replacing Robert Zirkelbach, who left the organization in June to become global head of issues and advocacy at ExxonMobil.

In a statement, DeShong said that the group “has tremendous opportunity to continue to build a strong advocacy agenda that paves the way for future innovation and discovery.”

Previously, DeShong was SVP of global corporate communications and industry affairs at MGM Resorts International, the largest gaming and entertainment company in the U.S.

DeShong has also served as chief of staff for former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and held positions at Subject Matter Public Affairs and the Democratic National Committee.

Formed in 1958, Washington, DC-based PhRMA represents U.S. biopharmaceutical research companies and advocates for policies that support the discovery and development of medicines. It has 12 offices around the world. 

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