AstraZeneca puts global drug to pitch

Pharma giant AstraZeneca has held a global pitch for its blockbuster drug Seroquel. It has also appointed a new product manager for the brand in the UK.

The drugs company held the pitch for its schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug this week. The account is currently held by Hill & Knowlton.

Global sales of Seroquel were $4.5bn last year, making it AstraZeneca's second biggest selling drug.

Last week the Financial Times reported that AstraZeneca's hopes of extending the uses of the drug in the US had been met with a mixed response from a key panel of medical experts.

The US Food and Drug Administration Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee said that Seroquel was not safe enough for its standalone use against major depression to be justified.

The committee also said it was not safe enough to be used as a treatment for generalised anxiety disorder.

The drug is also currently the subject of litigation in the US brought by patients who claimed it caused diabetes.

At the same time, AstraZeneca has hired Reynolds-Mackenzie associate director Tina Batchelor to join its UK team. She has been brought on board as brand comms manager.

Batchelor joins after less than a year at healthcare media relations shop Reynolds-Mackenzie, which she joined from Virgo Health (PRWeek, 11 July 2008). She has been working with clients including Roche and Pfizer Oncology.

Batchelor has more than ten years of experience in healthcare PR, having also worked at Sante Communications.

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