Healthcare: AZ appoints Galliard to Atacand global account

AstraZeneca has appointed Galliard Healthcare Communications as it cranks up the global promotional effort behind its cardiovascular product Atacand.

The agency's programme spans 16 countries and will involve what Atacand global brand manager Dr Grazyna Kunikowska described as 'comprehensive communications activities'.

Galliard will target the medical community specifically to promote the results of the CHARM programme, a series of trials into Atacard's efficacy in treating patients with heart failure, which concluded last year.

Galliard MD Marika Freris said: 'The results of the CHARM programme generated a lot of interest and showed a number of clear benefits of Atacand over other ARBs in treating chronic heart failure. (The results) will provide communication opportunities among key audiences.'

Although Atacand - an angiotensin-II type 1 receptor blocker (ARB), a newer class of drug used to treat high blood pressure - is approved for the treatment of hypertension, it is not currently indicated for heart failure.

Galliard's programme will kick off later this year and will focus on countries such as France, Germany and Spain. Rival brands to Atacand include Novartis's Diovan, Merck Sharp & Dohme's Cozaar and Boehringer-Ingelheim's Micardis.

Galliard beat three UK-based agencies to win the contract, which was awarded following a pitch co-ordinated by AZ's operations in Sweden. Galliard's brief excludes global media relations for the brand, which continues to be handled by Ketchum.

Meanwhile, Tracey West, a former conference director at IQPC, has joined Galliard as an account manager.

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