Pfizer picks WS to handle US, Europe launches of Inspra

NEW YORK: Pfizer has selected Weber Shandwick to handle PR for the US and European launches of Inspra, a congestive-heart-failure treatment for patients who have had heart attacks in the past.

NEW YORK: Pfizer has selected Weber Shandwick to handle PR for the US and European launches of Inspra, a congestive-heart-failure treatment for patients who have had heart attacks in the past.

Pitches were also heard from MS&L and Ruder Finn.

The win is WS' second within one month from Pfizer, which recently appointed the agency to handle the global account for its blockbuster erectile-dysfunction treatment, Viagra (see story on prweek.com).

However, unlike the Viagra business, which is being run by the consumer marketing group at WS, work on Inspra will be led by the firm's healthcare practice.

Inspra, for which Pfizer acquired the rights when it bought Pharmacia in April, received FDA approval for hypertension in September 2002. It was cleared for the heart-failure indication last month.

Laura Schoen, president of global healthcare for WS, said the drug would officially launch in "early 2004."

Regarding Pfizer's decision to market Inspra for congestive heart failure over hypertension, Michal Fishman, director of US pharmaceuticals PR, said, "When we became aware of what the survival benefit [of taking Inspra for congestive-heart-failure patients who have had heart attacks] was, we filed for the congestive-heart-failure indication. Our communications strategy reflects that decision."

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