Pfizer named Weber Shandwick PR agency of record for Lipitor following a break with WPP. Weber Shandwick was recently appointed agency of record for the firm's statin torcetrapib/atorvastatin.
The award, first reported in PRWeek, follows a review pitting Weber Shandwick, an Interpublic Group agency, against Omnicom's Fleishman-Hillard, WPP's GCI Group and independent APCO Worldwide.
In October, Pfizer parted ways with WPP network consortium WPP Health Success, which had handled the Lipitor, Norvasc and Caduet business globally for over two years. WPP Health Success did not pitch for the Lipitor business. WPP's Feinstein Kean continues to support Caduet in the US and Burson-Marsteller handles the brand globally.
The shift comes amid a series of frantic news cycles for the world's best-selling drug and its prospective follow-on. The American Heart Association, miffed that Pfizer released data ahead of its scheduled presentation at the group's conference, cancelled the slot altogether. More importantly, the data released showed that the new drug does elevate blood pressure, however minimally. Meanwhile, Pfizer won an appeals court ruling preserving Lipitor's patent exclusivity for three more years.