C&W won the account after a four-way pitch. It is the first time an agency has been appointed for the joint brief.
C&W will handle communications across Schering's UK virology portfolio, which includes medicines to treat drug dependence and the management of HCV.
The work will support Schering's opiate dependence treatment drug Suboxone, as well as its antiviral treatment drug for HCV, Viraferon-Peg. Activity will focus on providing healthcare professional and patient education.
C&W healthcare director Jo Spadaccino will lead the account team with associate director Lisa Henry. Associate director Vicky Kelham will provide specialist NHS and Department of Health input into the programme.
'The health needs of intravenous drug users are complex,' said Spadaccino. 'In particular, the high prevalence of HCV will continue to rise and will remain a ticking time bomb unless it is addressed.'
It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of current hepatitis C sufferers were infected while injecting drugs, and that about 50 per cent of intravenous drug users in the UK may be infected with hepatitis C. Approximately half of these people may be unaware they are infected.
In February, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence released guidance on the provision of Needle and Syringe Exchange Programmes. The guidance was a blueprint of best practice for services dealing with drug users in England.