PR in the 1930s: Welcome to the Vallila plant!

During the 1920s, Orion attracts a large number of doctors to stand behind the company. In the early 1930s, however, the distance between the company and pharmacists, another significant group of stakeholders, presents challenges.

One of the reasons behind this distance is the language issue. Orion is a distinctively Finnish company, while few pharmacists support the Finnish movement. In 1933, the company is also criticised for its choice of CEO: pharmacists are not happy with Erkki Leikola, Professor of Medicine and Surgery, as they think that the director of a pharmaceutical plant should have professional qualifications in the production of drugs. To add to the division, a new Pharmacy Goods Act is being prepared and is threating pharmacies’ exclusive rights to sell medicines to the public.

A massive publicity campaign is launched to improve the relationship. Orion invites all of the pharmacists in Finland, 400 in total, to visit its brand-new plant in the Vallila district of Helsinki in 1936. The eventual attendance is 80 – a large number, considering that most pharmacists are based far from the capital.

“During last year, Orion was delighted to see Finnish pharmacists visit its plant in great numbers. The plant was also introduced to midwives and chemical sellers,” states Orion’s annual report for 1937.

By all accounts, the event was successful: a share issue was carried out next year, and 70 pharmacists and chemists subscribed for shares in Orion, out of 200 parties in total.