Bristol-Myers Squibb hires APCO for HIV/hepatitis

Pharma firm Bristol Myers Squibb has appointed APCO to provide public affairs support for its portfolio of HIV drugs and the planned market entry of a new treatment for hepatitis B.

On the HIV project, the brief is to build on last year's 'Treat for Respect' campaign, which calls for the right to NHS treatment for all patients, regardless of immigration status. Under current government policy, certain migrants to the UK are charged for their HIV treatment.

BMS has also tasked APCO with boosting awareness of hepatitis B, for which it says the Government has no national strategy, despite its increasing prevalence.

Around 180,000 people are infected with the disease in the UK, many from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Led by UK managing director Simon Miller, APCO was hired last month after a competitive pitch.

'APCO demonstrated a strong understanding of our priorities and challenges,' explained the pharma firm's director of external affairs Richard Marsh.

The New England Journal of Medicine issued a study this month warning that BMS's antibiotic product Tequin can have 'life threatening' side effects, including low blood sugar.

The bulk of the company's sales come from prescription drugs.

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