The news that sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan, formerly of the now defunct Morgan Allen Moore, who was retained by Peter Hain in his disastrously dodgy bid for Labour deputy leader has taken his team of spin merchants to the huge American spin shop Burson-Marsteller is a little worrying. Morgan Allen Moore was described by PR Week last year as a “scandal-hit outfit”, becoming the first firm ever to be kicked out of the industry’s self regulatory group. PR Week reports that
Morgan’s new ‘market access’ practice at Burson-Marsteller will advise healthcare clients on issues related to product marketing and access to the NHS.
Back in the not so distant past Morgan was hired to push a drug responsible for widespread deaths and crippling illness. Ortho Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson, retained Morgan Allen Moore in 2001 to push its anaemia drug, Eprex. Eprex is currently being investigated by the FDA because of the high number of patients who have suffered strokes and died as a consequence of taking the drug. Eprex was withdrawn in September 2001 (“Eprex vials to be withdrawn”, Chemist and Druggist, 22 September 2001, page 28 – not online) because of fears over its safety. On 14 July 2002, the Financial Times reported that
“Eprex has been linked to a rare but devastating condition known as antibody-mediated pure red blood cell aplasia or PRCA. The condition is triggered when the body produces antibodies against its own EPO, shutting down red blood cell production. The only treatment for PRCA is regular, life-long blood transfusions”.
Burson-Marstellar – a company which was itself also investigated by the APPC for having a secret client in 2007 – represents, amongst others, Digene Corp, a company principally specialising in the production of a test for HPV, the virus that causes genital warts in women. A marriage made in hell, some might say…