VIAGRA DRUG RIVAL SPLITS MEDIA DUTIES

Vardenafil Account With Mediaedge:cia and Initiative

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Drug makers looking to challenge Viagra's hold on the erectile dysfunction market made significant moves with their accounts or ran into government regulations this week.

Media duties for Bayer AG's new drug Vardenafil have been divided between WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, which was awarded media planning, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media, which was awarded media buying, according to executives familiar with the situation.

Neither Bayer AG nor the agencies would comment.

FDA approval
Vardenafil will be co-marketed with GlaxoSmithKline, probably before the end of the year. Approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected as early as July 24.

Meanwhile, rival drug Cialis, by Eli Lilly and Icos Corp., hit a setback this week as the FDA called for new trials of the drug because of safety concerns related to how long the drug stays active.

According to the manufacturer, Cialis is effective for up to 36 hours, whereas Viagra, made by Pfizer, and Vardenafil work up to about four hours.

According to analysts, the erectile dysfunction market could be worth almost $4 billion a year by 2006.

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