NEW YORK—Manning Selvage & Lee has formed a global healthcare issues management and litigation communications practice to address the increasingly challenging business environment for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. The new practice brings together several of MS&L’s issues management and litigation communications experts under the leadership of North American president Larry Kamer.
Other members of the team include Paul Gallagher, senior vice president and director of media strategy, who joined MS&L in April 2006 after a decade at CBS News with 60 Minutes; Peter Pitts, senior VP of global health affairs and former associate commissioner for external relations at the Food and Drug Administration; Don Hannaford: SVP and managing director of MS&L’s Washington, D.C. office; and Pål Jebsen: chairman of MS&L Sweden and partner in the JKL Group.
This team will help clients effectively navigate and contain potential damage that comes from issues emerging from an increasingly litigious environment, summarized in a new MS&L white paper, America’s Legal System Is Dangerous To Its Health.
“Every time the FDA posts an adverse event on Medwatch or announces a label change, or tough questions are raised at advisory committee meetings, it’s like waving a red flag in front of the plaintiff’s bar,” saiysMark Hass, global chief executive officer of MS&L, who points to recent headlines questioning the autonomy of the FDA, the efficacy of and ethical issues surrounding clinical trials, the suppression of adverse side-effects, and accusations that pharmaceutical companies are trading off patient safety for increased market share and profit.
“The media crisis environment pharmaceutical companies find themselves in is now directly related to what happens in the courtroom,” says Kamer. “Our job will be to help our clients navigate this environment so that they are treated fairly in the courtroom—and in the court of public opinion.”