Public Affairs: Alliance Unichem hires first PA firm

Alliance Unichem, the FTSE 100 pharmaceutical retailer and wholesaler, is poised to appoint Fishburn Hedges as its first public affairs agency as it prepares for the radical shake-up in delivery of healthcare.

The firm operates 950 retail outlets under the new brand Alliance Pharmacy, which took effect in May. Previously branded Moss Pharmacy, the chain was acquired in 1991 by wholesaler Unichem, which merged with Alliance Sante in 1997.

'The pharmacy market is undergoing its most radical change in 50 or 60 years,' said Alliance Pharmacy NHS strategy manager Jonathan Buisson.

'There is a switch to chemists providing more healthcare services.'

The hire comes in advance of the Government's 'pharmacy contract', which comes into effect on 1 October and requires chemists to provide more of the services traditionally offered by GPs.

FH will be expected to raise awareness of the firm's role as service provider across Westminster and Whitehall. The agency will also provide support to wholesale arm Unichem, which supplies the Alliance Pharmacy estate plus 3,000 independent pharmacists.

FH won a competitive pitch to land the brief. Rival group Lloydspharmacy reappointed APCO UK to its public affairs account last month (PRWeek, 22 July).

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