Roche hands global HIV portfolio to H&K

Hill and Knowlton has landed the contract to handle the global PR for Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche’s HIV and Aids portfolio.

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

million.



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

philosophy.’



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

blood stream.



’The HIV area is much more than just providing a drug to a doctor,’ said

Kramar.



’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

added.



’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.



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