Beattie wins pitch for Malarone UK contract

GlaxoSmithKline has drafted in Beattie Communications to handle a newly created UK contract to promote Malarone, its drug that both prevents and treats malaria.

The drugs giant has hired the Scotland-headquartered agency after a pitch understood to have been against Athena Medical PR and Clew Communications.

Shire Health London, which has been Malarone’s retained UK agency for the past two-and-a-half years, also lost out in the scrap for the account but will continue to promote the brand to healthcare professionals.

Beattie, which has never formerly worked for a major pharmaceuticals company, has been appointed to handle an ‘awareness campaign around malaria in the UK’, according to a GSK spokesman.

Beattie chief executive Gordon Beattie said details were still being thrashed out as to the campaign’s details, saying contracts had yet to be signed.

Malaria is a sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite and transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are around 2,000 cases of malaria among British travellers every year, resulting in around 15 deaths.

Malarone tablets have become a staple for visitors to climates in which the Anopheles mosquito, carrier of malaria-causing parasites, thrives. Around 90 per cent of malaria infections occur in Africa.

The once-a-day pill can be started just one day before arriving in a malaria-endemic area. It needs to be taken for only seven days after returning from abroad.

Within the anti-malaria market, Malarone faces competition from brands including Roche Pharmaceuticals’ Lariam. Roche does not use external UK PR support on this product. Since 1996, more than 35 countries have approved the use of Malarone.

Two years ago, GSK unveiled Malarone Paediatric, the first anti-malaria tablet designed for children to launch in Britain.

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