Interlink handling interactive on new BMS patch

Bristol-Myers Squibb has awarded the interactive business for newly approved depression patch Emsam to Interlink Healthcare Communications following a competitive pitch. Interlink, part of IPG’s Lowe Healthcare Worldwide, is also the brand’s professional agency of record. Emsam (selegiline transdermal system) was developed by Somerset Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture of Mylan Laboratories and Watson Pharmaceuticals, and will be marketed in the US by BMS. Analysts estimate annual Emsam sales at $40 million this year, growing to about $135 million by 2009, The Wall Street Journal reports. Interlink, which is handling DTC promotion for the brand as well, says there are no plans for consumer ads yet. BMS has a policy on limiting communication for newly launched products to professionals only and thus will refrain from DTC ads during the first year after Emsam’s April launch. A BMS spokesperson says the policy allows for the company to do disease-state awareness ads during that time. The patch is approved only in patients 18 and older. Because patients taking Emsam at higher strengths need to adhere to dietary restrictions, BMS also plans an educational campaign to ensure adherence. Those dietary restrictions delayed the FDA’s final approval of Emsam. The agency granted conditional approval in 2004. The restrictions do not apply to patients taking the drug at lower doses.

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