ISSUE 1 OCTOBER 2004

Do you have killer legs?

An Observer investigation has accused the drug giant, Aventis, of covertly funding health pressure groups to help increase the sales of Lovenox, its DVT-relieving drug (Antony Barnett, The Observer, 26/9/04). The article suggests Aventis is ‘in league’ with international PR agency Burson-Marsteller. They have set up The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis on behalf of Aventis, and run it from their New York office. The group is pushing for more anti-DVT drugs to be used by hospital doctors and public health authorities.

What are the ethical implications of Aventis’ PR strategy? How does this reflect on Aventis’ CSR approach? Where do Burson-Marsteller’s tactics sit in Grunig’s four models of PR practice?