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Pfizer has named WPP Group's Ogilvy PR and Shire Health to handle
PR for its worldwide COX-2 franchise, including Celebrex, Bextra
and Dynastat. Ogilvy PR will handle U.S. communications for the drugs, while London-based Shire Health will handle the global business.
The move dislodges incumbent agency of record MS&L, along with
Weber Shandwick, which handled some global business on a project
basis. Neither agency participated in the pitch.
Pfizer's consolidation of the accounts predates Merck's withdrawal
of Vioxx in September, though the business is particularly critical as questions about the safety of COX-2 drugs now cloud the entire
category. Pfizer consolidated PR for its cardiovascular business into WPP in January.
"Our overall priority is to find better ways to reach people and persuade them to see their doctor about their pain," said Pfizer U.S. director of public relations Paul Ewing.