Account for Blood-thinning Drug Plavix Was With Ogilvy

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DETROIT ( -- Bristol-Myers Squibb has put its prescription blood-thinning medication Plavix into review after parting ways with WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, on the $70 million account, executives close to the situation said.

Marketer declines comment
An Ogilvy spokeswoman said the agency resigned the Plavix business last month after more than four years on the account. Bristol-Myers Squibb, which co-markets the drug with fellow pharmaceutical maker Sanofi-Synthelabo, declined to comment on the review or how its relationship with Ogilvy ended.

Executives with knowledge of the review said at least six agencies are participating, three of which are believed to be WPP's J. Walter Thompson, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide. The agencies are based in New York.

BMS and Sanofi spent $62.3 million on Plavix through October 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Strong niche
Plavix has carved out a strong niche as a blood-thinning medication whose strength is generally somewhere between taking a regular aspirin and taking more hard-core prescription drugs such as Coumadin or injections of Lovenox. Plavix helps prevent blood clots from forming that can lead to future heart attacks or stroke.

Sales of Plavix through October 2003 were $1.67 billion, making it Bristol-Myers Squibb's second-biggest selling drug behind the anti-cholesterol Pravachol and Sanofi's second-biggest selling drug behind the sleep aid Ambien.

Sanofi is reportedly preparing a bid to purchase another pharmaceutical company, Aventis SA, a merger that would make Sanofi the world's second-largest drug maker behind Pfizer.