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Posts Tagged ‘GlaxoSmithKline’

Drug Makers Turn Doping Scandals into Good PR

Lance ArmstrongHere’s an interesting way for controversial brands to maintain or improve their reputations: take an industry’s biggest scandal and turn it into a PR win through effective advocacy and counter-messaging efforts.

We’ve heard a good bit about EPO and other performance-enhancing drugs in the past few months thanks in large part to athletes like Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorious, the Olympian double-amputee and accused murderer who apparently liked to mix his alcohol with illegal steroids. Lest we forget, these drugs primarily serve as useful medicines that can help lengthen and improve the lives of those affected by chronic conditions like anemia.

In a determined PR move, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline–two of the world’s largest drug makers–have joined the World Anti-Doping Agency in an attempt to prevent the abuse of their products and protect their names from the inevitable backlash.

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GlaxoSmithKline to Pay $3 Billion in Largest Healthcare Fraud Settlement in US History

Once again, drug giants are being reminded that the government and the public sort of frown upon pharmaceutical companies doing things like bribing doctors with lavish vacations to get them to prescribe a drug to their patients. And illegally promoting a drug and/or knowingly withholding information about dangerous side effects? Yeah, that’s not okay, either. If previous lawsuits against companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly didn’t get that point across, the recent settlement with GlaxoSmithKline to the tune of $3 billion just might.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the largest of the pharmaceutical giants, and has just made the largest settlement of healthcare fraud is U.S.history. The $3 billion settlement included $1 billion for criminal fraud and $2 billion for civil liabilities, to which the company has agreed to plead guilty.

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A Magic Pill for Polishing Glaxo’s Public Image?

GlaxoSmithKline is trying to better its reputation in the face of what the Wall Street Journal calls “a series of legal woes that have tarnished the image of Glaxo and other drug makers in recent years.”

To that end, the drug maker decided to suspend U.S. TV ads for anti-impotence pill Levitra. Glaxo told the Wall Street Journal it hasn’t run a TV spot for it since fall 2009.

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Marketing Disease to Sell the ‘Cure’

Even diseases can be branded, a CNN story says. It opens with the lessons of Edward Bernays, who saw public relations as “less about selling things than about creating the conditions for things to sell themselves.”

That sets the stage for a look at how pharmaceutical marketers sell drugs today: the article argues that it comes down to branding the disease itself.

Branding diseases, the writer says, has taken conditions “once regarded as rare” and made them prime for treatment. It cites GlaxoSmithKline‘s hiring of PR firm Cohn & Wolfe, which ran a 1999 campaign called “Imagine being allergic to people” and the fact that during the campaign, there were over a billion references to social anxiety disorder in the press, versus about 50 the two years before.

Cohn & Wolfe received an award for the campaign, the drug saw a huge uptick in profitability, and the disease is “often described as the third most common mental illness in the world” today, the story says.

“Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to him as his own idea,” the article says.