DUBAI — Specialist healthcare and medical communications agency, GCI Health is expanding its global footprint by opening up in the Middle East.

GCI Health will integrate with the healthcare team at sister WPP agency Asda’a BCW, whose 30-strong team across the region will now operate as GCI Health Middle East, joining around 360 healthcare specialists around the world.

The new offer t is being led by GCI Health Europe and Middle east president Kath Kerry, who will work with Asda’a BCW founder and BCW Middle East president Sunil John to drive growth.

Speaking to PRovoke Media, John said: ““Healthcare has been part of our consumer practice for the past 10 years and over the past two to three years we’ve seen increasing demand for specialist healthcare services from health ministries and some of the largest healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and medtech companies in the Middle East.

"We found ourselves increasingly reaching out to GCI Health and Kath’s team in the London global hub, and then in 2020 healthcare came into real focus. Our pure healthcare business grew by double digits and we thought it was time to bring GCI Health’s expertise into the market as a standalone practice within our offering. I’m very proud to say it’s the first specialist healthcare communications team in the region.”

The expansion of GCI Health – named as PRovoke Media’s global healthcare PR agency of the year in 2020 – follows a sixth consectutive year of double digit growth, driven by an increase in demand for PR services across the health, pharma and wellness sectors. Earlier this year, the agency expanded its Asia Pacific footprint with new operations in Japan and India.

Kerry told PRovoke Media: “This has been brewing for some time; the Middle East has always been of interest to us, and the partnership of Asda’a BCW’s heritage in the region and our global infrastructure of health specialists really sets us apart. Our vision is to reimagine healthcare in the Middle East and offer a truly integrated service, including meeting a huge rise in the need for digital communications in a healthcare environment, as well as data and analytics.”

She said the expansion would also open up GCI Health’s potential client base: “Our client roster is predominantly pharma, as well as policy and public affairs, medical devices and technology, while Sunil’s team have really built their expertise in government and public sector healthcare, so there are great opportunities. We can also bring insights from the region to clients not currently active in the Middle East, where there are such diverse cultural, regulatory and environmental dynamics. It’s really exciting.”