+44(0)208 9952500 karen.stancombe@lionsdencommunications.com LionsDen Communications Lionsden medical John Clare

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Why Pharma PR needs some good PR

pspan style=”font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”25 years ago I was a TV reporter in London when HIV/AIDS was the big story.nbsp; I interviewed a l professor who said, #8216;If you#8217;re diagnosed today with HIV, choose the wood for your coffin.#8217; If two men aged 35 received a diagnosis today, one with HIV, the other with diabetes, the one with HIV has every chance of living longer than the other. /span/p pspan style=”font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”That change, as well as the development of successful treatments for common cancers, MS, asthma and many other conditions, has been driven by the pharmaceutical industry working with doctors, researchers and patients. It#8217;s absolutely right that we communicate that, clearly and accurately. /span/p pspan style=”font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”This summer I was at a wedding in rural England.nbsp; On my table was a serving colonel in the British Army.nbsp; When I told him my business advises pharmaceutical companies on communications he said to the group, without fear of contradiction, #8216;Of course you know that drug companies could cure cancer tomorrow, but they make more money just by keeping people alive for a little longer and charging a fortune for the drugs.#8217;/span/p pspan style=”font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”I was stunned that somebody so intelligent and educated could hold such a view. His opinions may be extreme, but he#8217;s not alone in his suspicion of the industry.nbsp; /span/p pspan style=”font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”Read the rest of this article in the October edition of PM Magazine./span/p p style=”font-size: 10px;” a href=”http://posterous.com”Posted via email/a from a href=”http://jclionsden.posterous.com/why-pharma-pr-needs-some-good-pr”JOHN CLARE/a /p

Media role as scaremonger or watchdog?

We now know that 14 year old Natalie Morton did not die of a reaction to Cervarix, but of a previously undiagnosed tumour. Much UK media coverage was balanced, but yet again the Daily Mail led the scaremongering campaign.

Faced with a choice between reassuring the paper’s 6 million (mostly female) readers based on a chorus of experts saying the vaccine is safe, and scaring them with a year-old quote from a previously unknown researcher, the paper came up with a masterpiece of mixed messages and managed to ride both horses at once, while clearly backing the scaremongers.

In the highly charged atmosphere following Natalie’s tragic death, the paper revived a story from a researcher at the University of Missouri-Kansas who claimed the jab’s benefits had been ‘exaggerated’. This gave the impression that she was questioning the vaccine’s safety…quite a claim given the circumstances.

In fact, close reading revealed that she was claiming the benefits might not last as long as claimed, and re-vaccination may be necessary. The researcher, Dr Diane Harper, made the scaremongers’ job easier by claiming the vaccine programme was ‘a public health experiment.’ Ill-advised words, and ill-advised reporting.

Ironically, in an accompanying piece claiming Britain had opted for Cervarix over Gardasil to save money, a claim that there have been 30 deaths following reported adverse reactions to Gardasil in the US was buried in the 5th para.

have no brief for either vaccine, and have worked on behalf of both manufacturers. I am however keen that people are given accurate, valuable information about risks and benefits.