Public Affairs: The Week in Lobbying

- The American Pharmaceutical Group has handed fresh public affairs briefs to Fleishman-Hillard and Hanover Communications. The two agencies held on to the accounts following a ten-way pitch process. Hanover handles public affairs and corporate comms in the UK while F-H deals with issues around access to medicine in the developing world.

- Catch 22, the charity formed last year by the merger of young people's charity Rainer and crime-prevention charity Crime Concern, has appointed Help the Aged's head of public affairs Kate Jopling. She joins as head of policy and public affairs, having spent six years at Help the Aged.

- APCO lobbying led to government ministers backing down from supporting British people who claim a US firm's drugs caused them heart attacks and strokes, The Guardian reported this week. Merck is refusing to compensate hundreds of Britons who say their health was damaged by pain relief drug Vioxx. The Government initially pledged to help people fight against Merck - but then withdrew its support. The Guardian reported that, according to official briefing notes: 'Merck launched a campaign to head off government support for the alleged victims, with the help of a lobbying firm, APCO.'

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