The group, plans for which were first unveiled in April (PRWeek, 22 April), held its official launch last week. Its chair, Justin Wilkes, said: 'One of our aims is to act as a link between pharmas, NHS, patient bodies and medical research: we have sought representatives from these sectors but have no patient body representation as yet.'
Other founding committee members of the group are: the NHS Counter Fraud Service's Matthew Willis (vice-chair and NHS body rep), Fleishman-Hillard's Michael Smeeth (secretary and agency rep), Whittington Hospital NHS Trust's Deborah Goodheart (frontline NHS rep), MRC Human Nutrition Research's Adrian Penrose (treasurer and medical research rep) and Bayer's Sylvia Barber (pharma company rep).
Others actively involved include Onyx Health's Karen Winterhalter, Merck Sharpe & Dohme's Rachel Michaels and the MHRA's Diane Leakey. Overall, 140 CIPR members have so far signed up for the Health and Medical group.
Wilkes, a director at Spink Consumer Relations, said the group aimed to hold four events/seminars per year. The next one is planned for early September.