Publicis Health (officially Publicis Healthcare Communications Group or PHCG) is the industry's largest integrated healthcare communications group. As of mid-2020 there were 15 agency brands spread across 40 offices in ten countries. The vast majority of the division's business in generated in the US of course, still the only significant global market where it is legal to advertise prescription drugs to consumers. Most US offices are housed in two campuses in New York and Philadelphia. AdAge estimated combined revenues of $673m in 2019, of which all but $100m was from the US. PCHG was originally created in 2003 following completion of the merger of Publicis and Bcom3, bringing together most of those two groups' respective healthcare agencies under a single umbrella. Since then, the group's numerous operating units, which included such well-known names as Nelson Communications, Medicus Group, Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare, Williams Labadie and Klemtner, have been steadily consolidated to create a single operating structure and senior management team, although several separate brands still remain. At the end of 2017, the group merged its two main US agencies, with Publicis LifeBrands being absorbed into Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, now the entire group's lead entity. (The Publicis LifeBrands banner is still used in a handful of international markets). Digital units Digitas Health and Razorfish Health joined the group in 2011, and other remaining statellites include Publicis Health Media, Heartbeat and Langland. The weakest link in the group was a pharmaceutical contract sales and outsourcing division which reported poor performance during 2018. It was sold to private equity investors in early 2019. PHCG also maintains close links with other Publicis-owned agencies. Longtime CEO Nick Colucci moved to a new role in 2018 as COO of Publicis Communications North America. Alexandra von Plato succeeded him as CEO of Publicis Health. Kathy Delaney is chief creative officer. Saatchi & Saatchi's healthcare marketing arm was first created from the acquisition of an agency set up in the 1940s by Paul Klemtner, one of the original pioneers of specialised US healthcare marketing. Publicis took its first steps into the same market with the purchase of Nelson Communications, set up in the 1980s by a former senior executive at Johnson & Johnson.
Capsule checked 2nd June 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 10th May 2021: As the battle rages to fund the cost of treating America's opioid crisis, the State of Massachusetts filed suit against Publicis Health for contributing to the pandemic. "Responsibility for the opioid crisis runs across the industry," said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, "from [pharmaceutical company] Purdue and the Sacklers [Purdue's controlling shareholders], to consultants and partners like McKinsey and Publicis. Publicis convinced doctors to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients as the opioid epidemic was raging. As a result, patients in Massachusetts suffered, overdosed, and died, while Publicis collected tens of millions of dollars." Healey estimated Publicis generated around $50m from marketing contracts for OxyContin and other drugs. Several Groupe agencies worked on the account including Razorfish health and Rosetta. Publicis denies the charges, saying its work was "completely lawful". It commented "Publicis Health acted solely as an advertising agency. It was not a drug manufacturer, distributor, or consultant. Our role was limited to implementing Purdue's advertising plan and buying media space. We look forward to a court determining there is absolutely no legal basis that supports this lawsuit." However, an earlier lawsuit led by Massachusetts in partnership with other States against management consultant McKinsey resulted in a $573m settlement to fund prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
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