Pfizer consolidating PR for its pain unit

NEW YORK: For the second time in less than a year, Pfizer is consolidating all PR work within one of its drug units.

NEW YORK: For the second time in less than a year, Pfizer is consolidating all PR work within one of its drug units.

The pharmaceutical giant invited four agencies to pitch for the global account of its pain franchise. The company declined to name the agencies.

The three drugs in the pain unit are arthritis medications Celebrex, Bextra, and Dynastat. Dynastat is not approved in the US.

MS&L, which held the Celebrex account, chose not to pitch for the pain franchise, noted Michal Fishman, director of public affairs for Pfizer US pharmaceuticals.

Weber Shandwick, which held the Bextra account, has also decided not to pitch because of a conflict with another client, Fishman added.

Wendy Lund, MD and healthcare practice director at the New York office of MS&L, confirmed that the agency was invited to pitch, but would not say why it declined to do so.

MS&L retains the Pfizer accounts of Aricept, an Alzheimer's drug, and Rebif, for multiple sclerosis, Lund said.

Weber did not return a call seeking comment.

The RFP went out in early August and Pfizer expects to choose an agency within the next month.

Fishman would not disclose the size of the account except to say that it is "large."

Celebrex and Bextra each earned revenues of more than half a billion dollars in the first half of 2004.

Pfizer consolidated PR work within its cardiovascular unit in November, and WPP won the business in January. For that unit, Pfizer had invited three holding companies to assemble their top PR teams during the RFP.

"We're always trying to maximize our efficiency and to optimize our strategic thinking," Fishman said, speaking of the consolidation of the pain-franchise account.

She noted that the agency chosen would be responsible for all PR for the three products.

"Our real goal is to continue to find ways to engage people with arthritis," she said.

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