Xenical $80 million account goes to Y&R

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Hoffmann-La Roche, Nutley, N.J., tapped Y&R Advertising, New York, to handle its estimated $80 million Xenical account, according to executives close to the situation. The other review contenders were Jordan McGrath Case & Partners and Ogilvy & Mather, both New York. Lowe Consumer Healthcare, New York, was the previous agency. Roche couldn't immediately be reached for comment, while Y&R declined comment. Xenical, a weight-loss drug, has posted disappointing sales since its launch last year, industry observers have said. The drug has a long list of possible side effects, such as inability to control bowel movements, which presents a marketing challenge. Y&R's first work is not expected to break until early 2001. Y&R also handles Roche's Tamiflu flu drug, which may have given it a leg up during the review.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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