Pfizer hires B-M for pregabalin contract

LONDON/NEW YORK: Pfizer has hired Burson-Marsteller in place of Weber Shandwick to handle the global PR contract for pregabalin, one of its major forthcoming product launches.

The US drugs giant also this week confirmed that it has transfered the UK-specific account from Weber Shandwick to B-M.

Pregabalin – a treatment for epilepsy, neuropathic pain and general anxiety disorder – is currently awaiting regulatory approval.

The global account for pregabalin, a potential blockbuster drug, will be handled by B-M in London and New York, with the account team in the former led by healthcare practice leader Kate Triggs.

Pfizer submitted a new drug application to the US Food and Drug Administration last November, having already filed with European regulatory authorities earlier in the year.

Pregabalin is a successor to Pfizer’s own blockbuster Neurontin anti-seizure drug, which is set to lose patent protection.

The account loss is a blow to WS, which was part of the Interpublic team that was beaten by WPP agencies – including B-M – in the global mega-pitch for Pfizer’s cardiovascular franchise (PRWeek, 6 February). WS declined to comment on the account.

In 2001 it emerged that Pfizer had halted human trials of pregabalin after experiments with mice found they had developed tumours. The company said earlier studies had found no evidence that pregabalin caused tumours.

Healthcare feature, p25

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