Astra Pharmaceuticals, the UK’s second biggest pharmaceutical firm,
has dropped Hill and Knowlton after three years of work on its
market-leading antacid, Losec.
The company is believed to be holding a pitch for work on the product,
used by thousands of people in the UK and millions worldwide.
Industry experts estimate the account in the UK alone to be worth more
than pounds 100,000.
Hill and Knowlton confirmed it had stopped working on the account.
Astra’s PR manager, Julia Cross, would only confirm that it was looking
for a consultancy to handle the Losec product.
Last year, Astra’s international arm hired Complete Pharma PR, now CPR
Worldwide, to devise an international communications programme for its
respiratory products, which treat asthma, rhinitis and chronic
bronchitis. They include Pulmicort and Entocort.
Astra also retains Shire Hall to promote its new male impotence
treatment - medicated urethral system for erection (Muse).
Astra is gearing up for a multi-million pound merger with pharmaceutical
giant Zeneca. If this is completed, it would create the third largest
pharmaceutical firm in the world in terms of sales, with a turnover of
pounds 5.1 million.