Ruder Finn takes on European brief for B-MS HIV drug

The European arm of pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb has handed Ruder Finn a pan-Europe brief to launch the first of its new breed of ‘once-a-day’ HIV drugs.

Unlike many existing products, which often need to be taken at intervals throughout the day and before or after meals, the as-yet unnamed new drug is a once-a-day therapy and will launch in direct competition to Merck UK subsidiary MSD’s Crixivan product. It is also part of the ‘triple therapy’ style of combination treatments.

Ruder Finn is ‘refining’ its campaign plan, which will see it introduce the concept of the drug to the professional and patient community throughout Europe. It will also ‘expand on the anticipated benefits of once-a-day therapy’, according to Ruder Finn managing director John Preston.

A key benefit of this group of drugs is that they allow users to keep their medical treatment programme discreet and confidential from others, he added.

While regulatory approval is being sought, preparatory activity is to start imminently, ahead of the product launch in late 2003 or 2004.

The campaign is being overseen by Preston, who will lead a seven-strong team alongside Paris Ruder Finn head of healthcare Mai Tran.

Initially the contract is for one year, with the agency using existing PR partners across Europe ‘where required’.

Preston said: ‘Our campaign is preparing people for the availability of the new therapy, leading up to a formal product launch.’

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