Cohn and Wolfe’s healthcare division has launched a service for
pharmaceutical companies to encourage patients to participate in
Inform, unveiled this week at the British Association of Pharmaceutical
Physicians, was developed by the PR agency with pharmaceutical giants
SmithKline Beecham and Du Pont.
Cohn and Wolfe has invested a six-figure-sum in the launch, hiring two
staff and conducting research among the pharmaceutical industry to gauge
responses to the service, the first of its kind.
The service, which will operate from Cohn and Wolfe’s offices, aims to
reduce delays in clinical trials - with the consequent delays in product
licensing and loss of profits - by combating public suspicion of the
It plans to develop materials for use by medical investigators heading
the trials including slides, pamphlets and flip charts.
The aim is to increase the pool of patients available and minimise the
drop-out rate by providing ‘patient-friendly’ information.
‘Most medical jargon is not understood by the man on the street and
won’t inspire confidence in trials,’ said Martin Ellis, director of Cohn
and Wolfe Healthcare.
‘We need to re-educate the consumer to expel the myth that patients are
To bring a product onto the market takes an average of 12 years.
Companies need 2,000 to 3,000 patients to apply for a marketing license
and the process can cost approximately pounds 200m.
Ellis is aiming to give companies a head start before a product comes
off patent and opens up to competitors.
‘A week of delay is a week of sales lost forever,’ he said.