Boehringer Ingelheim hires TLG to work on 'female viagra' push

Pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim is planning a major communications and lobbying push as it prepares to launch a new drug dubbed the 'female viagra'.

Sexual healing: new drug could boost women's libido
Sexual healing: new drug could boost women's libido

The German firm has brought in TLG Communications to handle public affairs and issue management around Flibanserin, the first drug designed to boost sexual desire among women.

TLG will work alongside Halpern, which is handling the consumer press, while Euro RSCG Life Medicom will manage comms with healthcare professionals.

The drug is still awaiting a licence, but is expected to hit the shelves in 2011, subject to EU approval.

It is the first drug designed to help women who suffer from decreased sexual desire with distress, more commonly known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

The condition, which causes decreased sexual desire, affects at least one in ten women and is the most common sexual problem seen in reproductive age women.

TLG was awarded the work following a competitive pitch. Senior consultant Lucy Jackson said: 'We will be supporting Boehringer Ingelheim's communications strategy, offering Flibanserin as part of the solution for women suffering from decreased sexual desire, while looking to put women's health squarely on the political agenda.'

The brief will involve liaising with key opinion leaders and MPs, as well as work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Flibanserin is currently in an early pre-launch stage. It was originally developed as an antidepressant, but was later found to have libido-boosting side effects. It was not approved as an antidepressant, but is expected to be approved next year for those who suffer from decreased sexual desire.

But Flibanserin could be controversial, as some researchers believe drug treatment cannot overcome psychological causes of low libido, such as low self-esteem or stress.

Viagra was launched in 1998 and has since been prescribed to 25 million men, creating a multibillion-pound global market.

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