Pfizer picks Merkley for $55 million Lipitor account

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Pfizer this morning tapped Merkley Newman Harty, New York, to handle its $55 million Lipitor account, according to people familiar with the decision. A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company was not ready to make an announcement but that one would come shortly. Consultant Advice & Advisors declined comment. Cline, Davis & Mann; Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG; Gotham and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, all New York, were also in the review. Bates Worldwide, New York, was the incumbent. Lipitor is the most popular of the hot-selling class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, and Pfizer's acquisition of Warner-Lambert may have been driven above all by the company's desire to gain full control over the marketing of the drug, which it had shared with WL. The review is the latest where Pfizer has looked beyond its roster of health care-oriented agencies to general consumer shops to handle a drug; other reviews included allergy treatment Zyrtec and antidepressant Zoloft, both of which went to Deutsch, New York, and migraine pill Relpax, to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York. Deutsch, which was recently purchsed by Interpublic Group of Cos., earlier dropped out of the Lipitor pitch.

- David Goetzl

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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