Novartis Moves Diovan Ad Work to Hill Holiday

Account for $1.09 Billion Hypertension Drug Had Been at Deutsch

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Novartis is moving the ad account for its high-blood-pressure medication Diovan from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch to sibling Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, according to multiple executives familiar with the process.
Diovan grew sales 18% during the third quarter.
Diovan grew sales 18% during the third quarter.

Novartis did not return a call by press time. Both agencies declined to comment.

Stellar third quarter
Novartis is apparently readying Diovan, the leading hypertension drug by sales in the U.S., for a direct-to-consumer push. Two weeks ago, Novartis reported a 12% rise in third-quarter profits and said it was in large part due to an 18% increase in sales of Diovan, to $1.09 billion, and a 32% rise in sales of its other blood-pressure medication, Lotrel, to $355 million.

The Diovan brand has had no consumer ad spending in the last two years but instead has been part of the pharmaceutical company's "BP Success Zone," a direct-to-physician program that replaced its earlier "Take Action for Healthy BP" initiative. Both those efforts were handled by Deutsch. Executives said Hill Holliday has created new work for Diovan that has been tested.

Deutsch will continue to handle the other drugs in Novartis' cardiovascular portfolio, including Lotrel as well as BP Success Zone.

Overall, Novartis has spent $245 million in measured media this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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Matthew Creamer and Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.