Industry strives for positive coverage

The Healthcare Communications Association is launching a proactive campaign aimed at improving the reputation of pharma firms.

The body representing both agency and in-house PROs will make a greater effort to get the industry's voice heard in the national media.

Red Door Communications director and HCA board member Catherine Oliver said: 'We have been too internally focused in the past but we now want to represent the industry and promote its reputation. We will be developing an external voice by getting quoted in articles concerning the industry, organising events and forums, investing in training and launching best practice guides.'

Oliver was speaking at the third annual Thames Valley University healthcare conference last week.

At the same event, the pharmaceutical industry was urged to look at the tarnished reputation of the banking sector and to learn lessons.

Cohn & Wolfe director of corporate Paul Maguire said: 'Pharma needs to look at how it is represented in both the good times and the bad. The industry can be quite insular and could benefit from looking at how the financial industry is perceived in light of the current crisis.'

Cohn & Wolfe healthcare director Fiona McMillan was another speaker to insist pharma companies needed to keep thinking about their corporate image, calling for major firms such as Pfizer and Roche to seize the initiative.

'Companies should be taking the lead and putting their heads above the parapet,' said McMillan.

Pharma firm Abbott's head of comms Pamela Harrison admitted it was difficult to promote the company's work in the media. She said: 'We do not get across the message of what philanthropic work we do. It is difficult, but we need to get these messages out more.'

PODCAST

Watch Cohn & Wolfe healthcare director Fiona McMillan discuss pharma's corporate reputation at prweek.com/uk

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