Roche pharmaceutical PA review in the pipeline

Roche Pharmaceuticals has called on public affairs agencies to submit their credentials in a move that is expected to lead to a review of its entire UK PA account.

It is understood that the Swiss company is seeking advice on the general environment of the healthcare industry rather than on specific diseases.

The move is not thought to affect its diagnostics or consumer brands divisions, the latter of which the company is looking to sell and includes over-the-counter products such as Rennie, Pro-Plus, Berocca and Sanatogen.

Issues it is likely to require external support on include fostering a climate for research and development and the need to appease the animal rights lobby.

Roche head of public affairs Hilary Rutherford said the request for agency credentials was ‘part of an evaluative process’ but would not confirm or deny that it would lead to a review of its PA account. Rutherford joined Roche at the start of the year from AstraZeneca, where she was government and industry affairs manager.

Last month, Roche CEO Franz Humer issued a warning against governments intervening in the pharmaceutical industry. He called for governments to adopt a more hands-off approach to allow research and innovation.

Roche showcased a portfolio of new drugs earlier this month in its first presentation to investors in two years, including cancer drugs Xeloda, Avastin and Tarceva. Its biggest prescription drugs include antibiotic Rocephin, obesity treatment Xenical and Aids drug Invirase.

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