The Most Powerful Health Care and Pharma PR Firms of 2018

To understand the spectacular growth in this category, just find a graph charting budgets around marketing anything medical or health-related

To understand the spectacular growth in this category, just find a graph charting budgets around marketing anything medical or health-related. The regulatory environment can always make this a tough area to navigate, but the rewards can be huge. Here are our choices for 2018’s notable agencies in health care and pharma PR—the top five also appear in our 2018 PR Power 50.

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Speaking of that, definitely spend some time with the PR Power 50, our yearly effort (which takes, pretty much, the entire year to put together) honoring the 50 PR firms that we feel have made the biggest, most exciting moves over the course of 2018.

Finn Partners

“We must ensure access to the best medical care and the latest clinical advances while tackling mounting concerns about cost.” That’s not a politician’s stump speech; it’s the mission statement for Finn’s health practice, which has seen the firm get involved in promoting clinical trials, policy pushes, and new-product launches. Read more about Finn—our No. 3 overall firm—in this year’s PR Power 50


Ketchum’s serious about health—for its clients, that is. As part of its transformation, the firm this year launched Vital Health, a practice aimed at wellness clients which even includes a “diagnosis” of “brand health.” Read more about Ketchum in this year’s PR Power 50


Understanding what some of Makovsky’s clients do is challenging enough, so you’ve got to have brains to work here. This independent firm has a rep as one of the smartest in the business, and founder Ken Makovsky’s deep focus on a few serious specialty areas—including health care—continues to pay off with big client relationships. Read more about Makovsky in this year’s PR Power 50


Edelman claims more than 600 “health specialists” around the world, more than many, many other agencies put together. Pharma, life sciences, tech, government, hospital and providers, retailers, wellness, NGOs, associations—they all flock to the world’s largest independent for media, creative work, thought leadership and more. Read more about Edelman in this year’s PR Power 50  


Kaplow’s long and deep relationship with CVS—along with vitamin brand Perfectil, DNA maven 23andMe, and the Breast Cancer Research Fund—earn it a place as a leading health and pharma firm. Read more about Kaplow in this year’s PR Power 50

GCI Health

GCI’s a global agency whose expertise ranges from animal health to medtech to vaccines. New business this year came from Abbott’s nutrition and diabetes care divisions, Bristol Myers Squibb and a basket of new Pfizer brands. GCI boasts that it now works for eight of the top 10 global pharma companies.


A “health care communications lab” is how RxMosaic bills itself, and its experiments seem to be working, since clients like Roche, Teva, Quest Diagnostics and Pfizer keep swinging through. As social becomes a more critical part of pharmaceutical marketing—a serious sea change—the firm’s also been at the forefront, using platforms like Facebook Live in ways that move the needle. Bonus fact: RXMosaic’s “Leadership” web page is headlined “Meet Our Geeks”.


The reshuffling of Ketchum this year (see our Power 50 list) wasn’t good news for former international CEO Jon Higgins, but it was for Spectrum, who snagged Higgins as its first chief engagement officer. Whatever that means, he’ll be engaging clients like Genentech, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer.


For more than 30 years, this Basking Ridge, N.J.-based firm has scored with straightforward, serious PR and marketing for clients like Genentech, MannKind Corporation, Merck and Bracco Diagnostic.


Their schtick: “Making health more human,” which means Evoke is perfectly positioned for now—they’re the ones convincing clients to leverage “micro-influencers” or navigate Facebook advertising. Evoke launched as a digital agency, but its full-on communications and marketing deal has drawn mammoth clients like Gilead, Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Janssen and probably anyone else who invents your prescriptions.

The Most Powerful Health Care and Pharma PR Firms of 2018