NEW YORK—Pfizer selected Marina Maher Communications to oversee the creative and strategic marketing public relations program for its migraine drug Relpax in the U.S.
According to sources familiar with the process, the New York-based consumer marketing firm beat out M Booth & Associates, DeVries Public Relations and Euro RSCG Magnet for the business, which is believed to be worth in the seven-figure range.
Agency president Marina Maher would not confirm the size of the account, but described the assignment as “a major win” for the firm’s fledgling healthcare division, and indicative of a trend that sees more and more pharmaceutical companies turning to consumer public relations specialists.
“We are getting more calls from pharmaceutical companies who are interested in our consumer background,” Maher says. “It’s an understanding of how to talk to consumers, of the consumer mindset, and of the kind of triggers that might motivate them to talk to their physician about a particular product. Traditional healthcare PR has been about talking to physicians, or other healthcare professionals such as nurses, or advocacy groups, but we can talk to consumers in different ways, and not just via the media.”
Most of MMC’s early healthcare accounts were for over-the-counter treatments, but Maher says even Rx products—such as Relpax—can benefit from a more consumer-focused approach. Relpax is the latest of a class of migraine treatments called triptans. It has been shown in clinical trials, involving more than 9,000 patients and more than 70,000 migraine attacks, to provide relief of migraine and its associated symptoms of nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
As agency of record, MMC will communicate with the physician audience, but will focus its efforts of consumers, particularly women—who suffer migraines at a significantly higher rate than men.
The firm’s other healthcare clients include Glaxo SmithKline’s allergy treatment Flonase; Schering Plough brands Coppertone and Dr Scholl’s; and ClearBlue, a pregnancy test from Inverness Medical. Relpax is the firm’s first assignment for Pfizer.