Industry Briefs April 2016


UNICEF Joins 2016 Young Lions Health Award

Industry-Briefs_UNICEF-Goodwill-Ambassador_ShakiraNow in its second year, 2016 Young Lions, a part of the Lions Health Festival and Awards held in Cannes, France from June 18-19, will team up with UNICEF. This year’s competitors will task pharmaceutical marketers with designing a marketing toolkit using a digital activation, print ad, and video to spread awareness on the importance of play for children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development during the early stages of their lives. UNICEF will launch the winning campaign as part of its overall communication outreach on early childhood development.

UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Shakira will join jurors Alexandra von Plato, Group President Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, and Josh Prince, President The CDM Group. “Development in the early years of a child’s life can empower them to become creative, engaged life-long learners—it can even shape their entire futures,” says Ambassador Shakira. “I am excited to join this year’s Young Lions Health Award jury to help shine a spotlight on the importance of early childhood development.” Held prior to the festival, the Young Lions Award Winner will be invited to the main event.

Insurers Consider Dropping Out of ACA exchanges

According to a recent Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association report, the uninsured who flocked to the insurance exchanges after the ACA was implemented rate highest in chronic illnesses including diabetes, depression, hypertension, heart disease, HIV, and Hepatitis C versus employed-sponsored plan patients—and insurers must pay more to insure them.

Insurers report that the new ACA-insured patients present a 22% higher monthly expense versus employer-based enrollees, which translates to $599 versus $457 a month. The cost spike has resulted in major losses for insurers including the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth (UNH), which is now debating whether to remain in the ACA exchange market.

Publicis Consolidates Ad-buying Agencies

Industry-Briefs_Publicis_Steve-KingInstead of the six agencies now under the Publicis umbrella, the agency has combined services into four global agencies. Starcom and Zenith will operate as two separate agencies, while Mediavest and Spark will combine to form the third agency, and Optimedia and Blue 449 will combine to form the fourth. Each agency will have its own global president. These changes came about after the company suffered a loss of business from major clients including Coca-Cola and Walmart, which lead to the to the layoff of 80 employees.

According to CEO Steve King, “Publicis Media is a fresh opportunity to simplify our organization, invent more modern approaches to gain efficiency, introduce structures for greater collaborations and effectiveness, and drive new levels of scale and client value.”

Pfizer Partners with the Human Vaccines Project

Pfizer will partner with the non-profit Human Vaccines Project, a public-private consortium focused on cross-sector collaboration that aims to identify human immune responses linked to optimal vaccine protection. Academic research centers, industrial partners, non-profit organizations, and governments are collaborating to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies.

Endorsed by 35 of the world’s leading vaccine scientists, other partners include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Regeneron, GSK, Aeras, MedImmune, Sanofi Pasteur, Crucell/Janssen, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. According to a Pfizer spokesperson, the project could help accelerate the development of vaccines.

SERMO Offers Free Communications Tool

Industry-Briefs_Sermo_Peter-KirkThe leading global social network for physicians company, Sermo, introduced “Sermo Pages,” which is set up similarly to Facebook and LinkedIn, and is a free communication tool for companies/organizations that enables them to interact with more than 550,000 global doctors in 24 different countries.

CEO Peter Kirk says, “They provide companies and organizations with the unique opportunity to converse with our physicians directly and receive insight from them. The Sermo Pages are an essential tool to anyone who wants to market to doctors.”

New Patient Start Program Welcomed by Industry

Shortly after launching their New Patient Start (NPS) Program, ContextMedia:Health reports a profitable and growing response from new and prior customers. The program is said to change the way point-of-care programs are purchased and evaluated by pharmaceutical companies. This program drives pharmaceutical and medical device brands to their target goal by providing a direct lever intended to induce new patient starts and manage ongoing adherence and compliance.

According to Ashik Desai, the company’s EVP of Business Growth and Analytics, “ContextMedia:Health’s New Patient Start Program fundamentally changes life science marketing at the point of care.”

WPP Acquires CMI

CMI, the nation’s leading specialist healthcare media agency, was recently acquired for an unspecified amount of money by holding company, WPP, and will operate under the WPP name. As CMI, the company provided service to 10 of the top 20 pharmaceutical advertisers in the U.S.—and generated $38 million in revenue in 2015. WPP is the world’s largest communications service group, with revenues of $19 billion.

Plans are underway to merge Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media into CMI under the WPP banner. Companies like WPP are acquiring others for two reasons: To gain exposure to expertise—in digital competencies or consulting services—or to address a specific client need.

Stan Woodland, President and CEO of CMI, says, “Joining WPP and adding the capabilities of Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media offers our combined clients, and the entire industry, the best-in-class healthcare media investment resource.”

Novartis Accused of Bribery in Turkey

An unknown whistleblower recently leveled allegations against pharma giant, Novartis, with bribery in Turkey to boost prescription sales, according to Reuters. The whistleblower alleges that the bribes were said to be paid to a consulting firm that helped Novartis to gain market advantages of $85 million.

The firm, Alp Aydin Consultancy, is said to have received $290,000 from the pharma giant, according to Reuters, to pay Turkish health officials, and that Novartis’ unit hired the relatives of physicians who wrote a high volume of prescriptions for its meds—which Novartis is currently investigating. The drugs in question include medications for respiratory diseases, juvenile arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, which brought the pharma manufacturer $20 million in revenue.

These allegations come on the heels of Novartis’ recent agreement to pay the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission more than $25 million to settle bribery allegations in China. Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff told Reuters, “We take any allegation of inappropriate behavior extremely seriously.” While Novartis declined to comment on the allegations, they no longer work with the Alp Aydin Consultancy.


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