Bristol-Myers Squibb uses F-H for hep work

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has handed Fleishman-Hillard a newly created UK contract to handle PR for Baraclude, its treatment for chronic hepatitis B.

BMS has brought in F-H – which already promotes the product across Continental Europe – primarily to handle media relations ahead of the product's launch.

Baraclude is set to become one of BMS's top brands and will treat what is the most common serious liver infection in the world: hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, and bodily fluids that contain blood.

Other brands in the market include GSK's Epivir, Gilead's Hespera and Roche's Pegasys.

Baraclude is currently awaiting approval by European regulators, but BMS anticipates being able to launch the product in the UK and on the Continent within 12 months. It was approved in the US in March 2005. It has also been approved in countries such as China, Brazil and Mexico.

F-H won a competitive pitch to secure the European contract four months ago, but did not pitch against other agencies to secure the UK brief, mainly because other agencies being considered by BMS to pitch had to rule themselves out due to conflicts of interest.

F-H director Lorna Baxter leads the agency's work on the UK account.

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