Abbott Laboratories has signed up GCI on a six-figure fee to manage
a largescale PR push for its HIV treatment Norvir.
The agency pitched against healthcare specialist Shire Hall
Communications to work for the product, a protease inhibitor which uses
the generic name ritonavir. The incumbent agency, Hill and Knowlton,
declined to re-pitch for the account.
GCI has been briefed to talk to both patients and community groups as
well as the specialist clinicians who treat HIV sufferers. It will also
tackle issues management for Abbott.
’It is a very complex market which changes rapidly as new drugs and
clinical evidence comes through,’ explained GCI head of healthcare
Norvir has been on the market for less than a year. It competes with
rival protease inhibitors saquinavir which is manufactured by Roche and
Merck’s product indinavir.
Protease inhibitors block the action of HIV protease, rendering the
enzyme incapable of processing the poly-protein required for the
production of mature HIV particles. As a result, the spread of HIV from
cell to cell is slowed and the progression of the disease delayed.
Reserchers have found the most effective treatments for HIV by combining
different protease inhibitors and other AIDS drugs.
GCI’s nine-strong healthcare team has a fee income of around pounds
Other names on its client list include also works for Novartis and