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The PR Connection

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The pharmaceutical industry’s image is close to its lowest point in more than a decade. During a time of corporate scandals and increasing distrust of business, the public and media are scrutinizing the industry’s practices. And they don’t like what they see — increasing costs for important medicines, sometimes limited access to prescription drugs, and a significant investment in consumer advertising.
“The industry’s image is indeed close to its low point during the last 12 years, following a peak in the mid-1990s when the country was more pro-business and perhaps more focused on the benefits of new drug therapies coming on the market,” says Brad Fay, managing director at RoperASW, a NOP World company.
A negative image can be detrimental, Mr. Fay explains, because it can put the industry at risk for new regulations, increased consumer activism, and could undermine its ability to attract investors in the future.
“It is clear, based on our public-opinion data, that the industry is dealing with a significant image problem,” Mr. Fay says. “It is critical that the industry be more aggressive than it has been in educating key stakeholders on the benefits to society of an innovative pharmaceutical industry that is driven by private capital markets.”
Public-relations strategies can help individual companies and the industry as a whole inform and educate the general public about the industry’s positive contributions, as well as provide a credible source of health information and news.
“At its simplest, public relations is the management of communication between a corporation and its stakeholders,” says Nancy Z. Brennan, managing director at Manning Selvage & Lee/Chicago. “In today’s environment, where stakeholders are attempting to sort through an increasing number of product-oriented messages, public relations can — in a cost-effective manner — add the depth and texture to product messages so at the stakeholder’s ‘moment of truth’ the choice is clear.”

Sidebar:
Credibility Among Sectors

Experts on this Topic
Joe Boyd. CEO, MCS, Bedminster, N.J.; MCS is a healthcare public relations and marketing communications company that partners with pharmaceutical companies, future leaders in biotechnology and medical devices, and healthcare advocacy organizations. For more information, visit mcspr.com.
Nancy Z. Brennan. Managing Director, Manning Selvage & Lee/Chicago, Chicago; Manning Selvage & Lee creates a full range of public-relations programs geared to the needs of corporate, governmental, and institutional clients. For more information, visit mslpr.com.
David Chapman. CEO, 919 Marketing, Holly Springs, N.C.; 919 Marketing is a national marketing and public-relations firm. For more information, visit 919marketing.com.
Gianfranco Chicco. Partner, Chandler Chicco Agency, New York; Chandler Chicco Agency is a team of more than 80 public-relations specialists who work exclusively within the healthcare industry. For more information, visit ccapr.com.
Michael M. Durand. Global Healthcare Practice Director, Porter Novelli, New York; Porter Novelli is one of the largest public-relations firms in the world, providing a broad range of communications services to clients in 56 countries; Porter Novelli is a wholly owned subsidiary of Omnicom Group. For more information, visit porternovelli.com.
Brad Fay. Managing Director, RoperASW, Princeton, N.J.; RoperASW, a NOP World company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of
United Business Media. For more information, visit roperasw.com.
Marita Gomez. CEO, HealthInfo, Schaumburg, Ill.; HealthInfo is a marketing communications agency that specializes in direct marketing and public relations. HealthInfo is a member of HealthInfo Direct LLC, an integrated group of companies that assists pharmaceutical and healthcare clients with their communications challenges. For more information, visit healthinfodirect.com.
Lynn Hanessian. General Manager of Health, Edelman, New York and Chicago; Edelman is an independent public-relations firm. For more information, visit edelman.com.
Kenneth Makovsky. President, Makovsky & Co., New York; Makovsky & Co. is one of the top 25 global, independent, full-service public- and investor-relations consulting firms providing comprehensive programs for international, national, and regional clients. For more information, visit makovsky.com.
Kathryn Morris. President, KMorrisPR, Pleasant Valley, N.Y.; KMorrisPR provides targeted and insightful media strategy,
pitching, and follow-up — specializing in strategic media relationship development, comprehensive media contact research, customized database development, and media contact management. For more information, visit kmorrispr.com.
John J. Seng. President and Founder, Spectrum Science Public Relations, Washington, D.C.; Spectrum Science Public Relations is committed to providing breakthrough healthcare programs to achieve the communications goals of clients who are involved with research, issues, products, or provider services in life or human health sciences. For more information, visit spectrumscience.com.
Bonnie Stofer. VP, Account Director, Palio Communications, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Palio Communications is a full-spectrum, strategically driven advertising and communications firm. For more information, visit paliocommunications.com.
Sheryl Williams. Senior Director, Product Communications, Cephalon Inc., West Chester, Pa.; Cephalon is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of products to treat sleep/neurological disorders, cancer, and pain. For more
information, visit cephalon.com.

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