NEW YORK: Cohn & Wolfe has been named US agency of record for the
blockbuster drug Allegra, made by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, just in time
for the hayfever season.
The agency has also won Aventis's e-business account.
The incumbent US agency for Allegra, Porter-Novelli, will keep the
An Aventis spokesperson was not available for comment.
C&W pitched for the US business against Burson-Marsteller, which was
chosen as Aventis's agency of record in the Latin American region last
autumn (PRWeek, 22 September 2000).
Ketchum competed for the e-business side. Each account is said to be
worth over pounds 700,000.
Competition in the hayfever drug market is fierce.
Allegra and Schering Plough's product Claritin are two of the top
brands, with sales in 2000 of pounds 1.1bn and pounds 2.1bn
'As it is highly competitive, reporters want to hear about the sector
and that makes (PR) easy,' said Donna Imperato, C&W's New York chief
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.
California health insurer Wellpoint Health Networks is pushing the Food
and Drug Administration to make the drugs more widely available to
patients, claiming they are safer than many of the other hayfever drugs
already sold over-the-counter in pharmacies.
As part of its bid for the business, C&W has already devised a campaign
for Allegra to sponsor mountain climber and hayfever sufferer Eric
Weihenmayer's quest to be the first blind person to summit Mount
Allegra is one of Aventis' most recognised brands and has captured a
market share in the States of over 20 per cent. Allegra and the two
other top-selling prescription hayfever drugs Claritin and Zirtec are
said to have had combined US sales of pounds 3.2bn last year.
Aventis is also mounting an e-business push that will increase the use
of the internet for dispensing prescriptions and selling products.