Pfizer shifts global Lipitor PR to Ketchum

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Editor's note: this article first appeared in PRWeek

Pfizer awarded Ketchum a global assignment for Lipitor as the pharmaceutical company prepares for its top-selling drug to go off patent at the end of this year.

MacKay Jimeson, media relations manager for Pfizer, confirmed that Ketchum had been named “the PR agency to support Lipitor through the loss of exclusivity.” He declined to provide further comment.

Sources said that Ketchum was one of several agencies invited to pitch for the Lipitor business in December as the company seeks to address the blockbuster cholesterol drug's looming patent expiration, which is set for November 2011.

Rob Flaherty, senior partner and president at Ketchum, referred questions to Pfizer.

Lipitor sales made up nearly 23% of Pfizer's total revenue in 2009 while the US market accounted for nearly half of the drug's sales in the same year.

The assignment includes change management, brand performance, corporate positioning, and a key opinion leader (KOL) strategy.

While sources say that the scope of work requested in the RFP differs from traditional brand work, it is understood that incumbent Weber Shandwick is no longer supporting Lipitor in the US. The agency, which won the global Lipitor business in 2006, continues to work with Lipitor in other regions globally.

Laura Schoen, president of global healthcare at Weber Shandwick, declined comment and referred questions to Pfizer.
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