When healthcare public relations specialist Packer Forbes was established back in 1993 by Martine Packer and Alexa Forbes, its first campaign was an effort to promote National Eczema Week on behalf of The National Eczema Society. Today, 15 years on, the firm is still working to raise awareness of eczema, partnering earlier this year with the Society and client Pierre Fabre Dermatologie on the “hold a hand for eczema” initiative. For most firms, that kind of commitment would be unusual, but more than half of Packer Forbes’ clients have been with the firm for five years or more, an indication of the firm’s ability to build strong relationships and keep coming up with fresh ideas. It’s an approach—“the Packer Forbes” experience—that has helped the firm to three Communiqué Awards for Best Small Agency of the Year, the most recent of them in 2007.
Alexa Forbes, founder and managing director (Packer stepped down in 2003 but continues to contribute to the firm as a medical writer), has more than 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry and over 20 years’ experience in healthcare PR and remains involved to a greater or lesser extent in all the agency’s accounts. Deputy managing director Pam Bourne has more than 13 years of client and agency experience and spent six years at Merck Sharp & Dohme in