Pfizer's Chantix PR heats up

NEW YORK: Pfizer readjusted its communications strategy for its anti-smoking drug Chantix on the heels of concern regarding its possible side effects.

NEW YORK: Pfizer readjusted its communications strategy for its anti-smoking drug Chantix on the heels of concern regarding its possible side effects.

Last month, the FAA banned pilots from taking Chantix after a report from Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, a drug evaluation journal, linked the drug to seizures and loss of consciousness.

Ray Kerins, VP of worldwide communication and head of global media relations for the New York-based drugmaker, however, denied that any specific event triggered additional measures.

“We've had a strategic, appropriate communications plan in place,” he said. “It's not all of a sudden. We're adapting that campaign because of market dynamics.”

According to Kerins, new efforts include sending letters that address Chantix concerns to 300,000 healthcare professionals, and a series of five roundtables tentatively scheduled for June in New York, LA, and Chicago where senior medical officers from Pfizer will speak to top tier media, bloggers, and trade press to address misunderstandings about Chantix. The company will also build on its original campaign method to inform patients, physicians, and support parties about the dangers of smoking.

Edelman, AOR for Chantix, and Brunswick Group, which works with Pfizer corporate communications, are providing support. Edelman referred all requests for comment to Pfizer.

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