Blockbuster allergy drug Allegra among latest C&W wins

NEW YORK: Just in time for allergy season, Cohn & Wolfe has been

named US agency of record for the blockbuster drug Allegra, made by

Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The agency has also won Aventis' e-business

account.



Allegra's previous US agency was Porter-Novelli, which will keep the

international business. No one at Aventis could be reached to comment on

the reason for the switch. C&W pitched for the US business against

Burson-Marsteller. Ketchum competed for the e-business side. Each

account is said to be worth about dollars 1 million a year.



Competition in the allergy drug market is fierce. Allegra and

Schering-Plough's Claritin are two of the top players, with sales in

2000 of dollars 1.6 billion and dollars 3 billion respectively.



'It makes it easy that it is highly competitive because reporters want

to hear about it,' said Donna Imperato, CEO of C&W, New York.



Allegra and Claritin are also both fending off health insurers' attempts

to reclassify them as over-the-counter drugs, as they are in other parts

of the world.



As part of its bid for the business, C&W has already devised a campaign

for Allegra to sponsor mountain climber and allergy sufferer Eric

Weihenmayer's quest to be the first blind person to summit Mount

Everest.



Aventis is also mounting an e-business push that will increase the use

of the Internet for dispensing prescriptions and selling products.



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