Red Door wins the brief for cannabis-based drug in UK

Bayer has drafted in Red Door Communications to handle PR surrounding the launch of what could become the first licensed cannabis-based drug available in the UK.

Bayer is currently awaiting regulatory approval for Sativex – for which it acquired the UK marketing rights from GW Pharmaceuticals in May – from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The licence application for Sativex, which is administered by means of an oral spray for the treatment of those with the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis and severe neuropathic pain, was made in March, and the drug could be made available on prescription before the end of the year.

Red Door director Julia Tollis, who leads a five-strong account team reporting to Bayer PR and public affairs manager Sylvia Barber, said the PR campaign would seek to ‘correct the numerous misconceptions among many audiences’ with regard to the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Tollis said: ‘People will assume this is the same stuff that you can buy on the street – it isn’t, it’s a different compound and Sativex isn’t smoked.’

‘We will attempt to ensure the real clinical benefits of Sativex are understood,’ she added.

The agency has already begun ‘gathering views and experiences of trialists and investigators’ who have been involved in Sativex’s development, according to Tollis.

Red Door also promotes Bayer’s antibiotic Avelox and its blood-sparing agent Trasylol, which is used in cardio-thoracic surgery.

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