AZ reviews global asthma brief

LUND, SWEDEN: AstraZeneca is reviewing the global account for its leading asthma drug Symbicort ahead of a crucial year for the product.

The combination inhaler for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is locked in a fierce brand battle with rival GlaxoSmithKline's Seretide.

An experimental new regimen for Symbicort is currently being trialled. A successful approval of this regimen – 'SMART' – may provide a major incentive to switch patients from Seretide.

The new regimen may be approved in Europe later in the year.

AZ has also finally submitted Symbicort – available in almost 80 countries – for approval in the lucrative US market, where a launch is possible within 12 months. The business is currently held by Virgo Health PR, which was hired two years ago on fees believed to be in the region of £500,000 (PRWeek, 9 January 2004).

Munro & Forster Communications, which promotes Symbicort in the UK, is one of five agencies to have pitched.

Its UK account is not under review.

GSK has just completed a review of the global Seretide account, opting to stick with incumbent agency Burson-Marsteller (PRWeek, 20 January).

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