H&K wins AZ prostate cancer brands remit

Anglo-Swedish drugs group AstraZeneca (AZ) has called in Hill & Knowlton (H&K) to handle UK media relations for its prostate cancer treatments Casodex and Zoladex.

H&K won a two-way pitch against Red Door Communications to scoop the contract, which will see the agency promoting fresh data on the products’ efficacy.

H&K replaces Galliard Healthcare Communications on the Casodex remit, while Zoladex has formerly been promoted by Chandler Chicco Agency (PRWeek, 20 February 2004).

H&K UK healthcare and pharmaceutical practice head Mike Kan declined to disclose fees for the account but described forthcoming PR work as ‘comprehensive’.

AZ hit the headlines over its marketing of Zoladex in 2003, when it admitted to violating the US Prescription Drug Marketing Act, and agreed to pay the US government almost £212m in fines.

Free samples of Zoladex were given to doctors, who then billed Medicare for them.

The company was then forced to sign a ‘five-year corporate integrity agreement’.

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