Pfizer selects WS to help promote cholesterol drug

NEW YORK: Pfizer has awarded its new Lipitor combination statin task to Weber Shandwick after a month-long RFP process.

NEW YORK: Pfizer has awarded its new Lipitor combination statin task to Weber Shandwick after a month-long RFP process.

"Since we're in the pre-approval stage, the work we'll be doing is to educate [the public] about what good cholesterol is and that there is a form of cholesterol that needs to be raised," said Rebecca Hamm, Pfizer PR director . "Primarily, our work will revolve around medical meetings as data [is] published."

The new compound, torcetrapib/atorvastatin (T/A), lowers the bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol - a similar function to that of Lipitor.

T/A will not compete with or replace Lipitor, but will serve as a better option for some patients. Pfizer hopes to file for Food and Drug Administration approval in 2007. Consumer campaigns won't commence until that time.

The account has a global reach and will last one year. Ketchum handles PR for Lipitor. Another WS team currently works on Pfizer's Exubera, an inhalable insulin.

"This is a very important product for Pfizer," said Laura Schoen, president of Weber Shandwick's global healthcare practice. "It's a new breakthrough challenge, in terms of changing the way people think about cholesterol. Right now people focus mostly on the bad cholesterol and part of this campaign is to change that."

WS beat out three other undisclosed agencies.

"[WS] did the best job of outlining what the barriers and objections should be for communications on this product, as well as bringing in an experienced team who has worked well on other Pfizer products," said Hamm.

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