Hill and Knowlton has landed the contract to handle the global PR
for Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche’s HIV and Aids portfolio.
Although financial details have yet to be finalised, the account is
believed to be worth around pounds 500,000 in fees. One industry source
put the likely value by the end of the year at closer to pounds 1
Roche originally saw eight agencies for credentials pitches, and
shortlisted Hill and Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard.
Dr Horst Kramar, Roche’s communications manager for virology, told PR
Week: ’We were looking for an agency with the capacity, know-how and
commitment to position the portfolio. Hill and Knowlton demonstrated a
very in-depth knowledge of the HIV and Aids area.’
Noel Hall, Hill and Knowlton’s international director of strategic
planning for the global healthcare practice, said: ’It’s an extremely
important win for us because it fits with our globalisation
Roche’s HIV and Aids portfolio covers three main areas: the anti-viral
drugs, Invirase, Viracept and Hivid; the management of opportunistic
infections with drugs such as the skin cancer treatment Roferon; and the
diagnostic sector which can detect the amount of virus in the patient’s
’The HIV area is much more than just providing a drug to a doctor,’ said
’A key area of communications is understanding how anti-viral drugs work
and how resistance develops,’ said Hall. ’People need to understand that
the decisions they are making today may preclude them from using other
drugs in the future.
’Compliance is one of the other big challenges in HIV therapy,’ he
’People do have to take these treatments pretty religiously, otherwise
the virus can develop resistance.’
Recent medical research found triple combination therapy can remove the
HIV virus from the bloodstream. The combined use of three anti-viral
drugs has dramatically improved the life expectancy of Aids patients in
the last three years.