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Excellence in Media Relations – Healthcare

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Finalist

Launching a cure for Hepatitis C

by Health Unlimited for Gilead


Summary of work

It is currently estimated that there are 144,000 people living with hepatitis C in England. The cost to the NHS of hepatitis C-related liver disease is £156m resulting from the management of hepatitis C-liver complications and is rising by 10% annually.

Hepatitis C is not a popular subject for consumer journalists - in 2013 coverage in national papers tended to focus on `drug users’ and research projects with few mentions of other patient groups and existing treatments.

As well as media apathy one of the main hurdles to gaining positive coverage about hepatitis C during 2014 was the cost of new products coming to market and lack of understanding about their value to both patients and the NHS – this was also a potential barrier to any NICE/ Scottish Medicines Consortium recommendations.

However, through partnerships with third party organisations and KOLs, Health Unlimited cultivated strong relationships with journalists over an 18-month period to pave the way for the introduction of new treatments.

We secured 282 pieces of media coverage, averaging out to 5 articles per week. 79% of those that mentioned treatments spoke about Gilead-manufactured drugs. The media outreach also contributed to NHS England announcing a hepatitis C Early Access Scheme and the associated reimbursement for Gilead's Sovaldi.

Judges comments

Health Unlimited and Gilead were able to demonstrate how media relations positively impacted the access decisions via the exclusive Channel 4 reports - a rare achievement.


Winner

Liver disease: Today’s complacency, tomorrow’s catastrophe - by Paradigm Communications and Trio Health for The Hepatitis C Trust


Finalists

Creating a paradigm shift in cardiology – breaking barriers for a “Cinderella Syndrome” - by Aurora for Novartis

Care, Consistency, Context and Control: Communicating the results of UK health technology appraisals for Selincro® - by Clark Health Communications for Lundbeck UK Ltd

Global burden of depression - by Edelman for The Economist Events

Launching a cure for Hepatitis C - by Health Unlimited for Gilead

The greatest team in the world - by Red Consultancy for NHS Blood and Transplant


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Behind the Judging: Communiqué Awards
Find out what the chair of judges Anna Korving, senior judges Sarah Matthew and Annabelle Sandeman and previous award winners Paul Tanner, 90TEN and Emma Reynolds, Cohn & Wolfe; have to say on how the judging process works, what the judges focus on, tips on what helps and what distracts within an entry and get insights into how previous winners have created that stand out submission.