Deutsch to Handle Ads for OTC Prevacid

Pharma Giant Novartis Awards More Business to Roster Agency

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is expanding the duties of its roster agency Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, awarding the agency advertising responsibilities for an over-the-counter version of the heartburn medication Prevacid, according to an executive familiar with the matter.
Novartis' goal is to make Prevacid 'one of the top five OTC products in the U.S.'
Novartis' goal is to make Prevacid 'one of the top five OTC products in the U.S.'

Prevacid manufacturer TAP Pharmaceutical Products last December agreed to license rights to the blockbuster drug to Novartis, which plans to launch the OTC version in 2009, when the patent on TAP's prescription version expires. Advertising will launch in late 2008 or early 2009, the executive said.

A spokesman for Novartis did not respond by press time. Deutsch referred calls to the client.

Spending not disclosed
Novartis has not disclosed the amount of money it intends to devote to promoting the product, but in December Larry Allgaier, CEO of Novartis Consumer Health OTC, said, "Our goal ... is to make [Prevacid] one of the top five OTC products in the U.S."

Prevacid, an acid-reflux remedy, is the fourth-best-selling brand-name prescription drug in the U.S. and competes with Nexium and others.

The move follows a six-week review by Novartis, the executive said.

Deutsch also handles Novartis brands Lamisil and Zelnorm.
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