AS Biss takes on Roche advisory job after PA win

Roche Pharmaceuticals is understood to have picked AS Biss & Co to handle its public affairs account after a competitive pitch.

The agency’s brief involves keeping the drugs company informed on the general environment of the healthcare industry. It will work with the company for a consultation process with the Government on public health ahead of publication of the Public Health White Paper this October.

The agency is also expected to advise Roche on how the Department of Health’s five-year plan, due for publication next month, is likely to affect the company. The plan will stipulate targets for combating childhood obesity, reducing adult smoking rates, cutting NHS hospital waiting times and improving treatment of people with chronic ailments.

The account was held previously by APCO.

The pharma account is separate from Roche’s diagnostics and consumer divisions, the latter of which is for sale and includes over-the-counter brands such as Berocca.

In the last couple of weeks, German chemical and pharma group Bayer has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire this unit.

Hill & Knowlton handles public affairs for a number of Bayer brands including anti-obesity drug Xenical.

AS Biss will report to Roche head of PA Hilary Rutherford. The win comes hard on the heels of the agency securing the Health and Safety Executive’s PA account.

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