VIVA! Communications wins PRIA health category award

VIVA! Principal, Kirsten Bruce, accepts the award on behalf of the team.

Last night, we took to the stage at the 2011 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) State Awards for Excellence to accept first place for our entry – Granting PNH community the gift of life – funding secured for life-saving treatment.

The 2011 PRIA awards, held at the Art Gallery of NSW, recognise the year’s most impressive PR and communication campaigns.

“We are delighted with the award that we won last night. It reflects the passion and commitment that my team and I invested into this account and the incredible support that we gained from the PNH Association of Australia and the organisation’s members,” said VIVA! Principal, Kirsten Bruce.

Winner - VIVA! Communications, 2011 PRIA State Awards for Excellence, Health category

“Our brief was very ambitious. We were charged with securing patients living with an ultra rare and life-threatening blood disease known as Paroxysmal Noctural Haemoglobinuria (PNH) with fully subsidised access to a treatment which cost $480,000 per patient per year.”

The PNH treatment had been excluded from the 2010-2011 Federal Budget, despite a recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in March 2009 to place the treatment on the Life Saving Drugs Program (LSDP), which is a Commonwealth program reserved for medications for very rare diseases that are cost-prohibitive.

Dismayed by the exclusion of this effective but incredibly expensive treatment, the PNH Association of Australia engaged VIVA! to persuade the Federal Government to subsidise the treatment for those whose lives depended on it. VIVA! coordinated a highly strategic communications campaign comprising 15 separate announcements of national and local orientation that secured 24,000 signatories to the PNHSAA’s petition; grew the official diagnosed patient pool from 70 to 100; and left funding stakeholders with little choice but to resolve the situation.

The campaign culminated in the full subsidisation of Soliris on the LSDP from January 1, 2011.

VIVA! had helped to grant Australians with PNH the gift of life.