Purple pill on the move: Pfizer moves OTC Nexium to Grey

Pfizer logo
Pfizer is moving OTC heartburn treatment Nexium to new ad agency home at Grey.

The purple pill has a new ad agency home. Pfizer moved its OTC heartburn drug Nexium from ad agency Leo Burnett to Grey after a review.

Leo Burnett has had the account since 2013, when Pfizer was taking over from AstraZeneca as the drug moved from prescription to OTC. Adweek reported that the move is meant as a consolidation by Pfizer. Grey has worked with Pfizer since 1995 and already handles the Advil, Emergen-C, Preparation H, Robitussin and ThermaCare brands.

A Pfizer spokeswoman declined comment, telling FiercePharma via email, “We don’t comment on supplier and vendor business relations.”

Featured Webinar

How to Streamline Your Clinical Research Organization's Processes End to End

Learn how implementing one platform leads to data consistency and ultimately facilitate faster clinical trials while reducing overall trial costs, leave behind spreadsheets and home-grown tools for a predictable trial and the ability to forecast unit delivery resulting in the optics you need to ensure a successful trial, and hear experts share industry trends of what is affecting the Clinical Research Organization industry today.

Pfizer has recently been considering making a move with its consumer unit, according to a Reuters report. Citing unnamed sources, the article stated a deal is not a certainty, only that Pfizer is “evaluating a potential sale or spin-off of its consumer health division that could value the unit at as much as $14 billion.”

Nexium was a blockbuster on patent, but still continues to ring up sales. While protected under AstraZeneca, it took in $3.87 billion in 2013, its last full year without a generic competitor. AstraZeneca then tussled with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories in 2015 over the use of the color purple for its generic Nexium capsules, ending with the courts agreeing that purple was part of Nexium's trademark.

So far this year, Pfizer has spent $42 million on TV advertising for Nexium, according to data from real-time TV tracker iSpot.tv. Nexium 24HR is the top seller in the OTC heartburn category, according to IRI reported by Drug Store News, with sales of $311 million in the third quarter of 2016.

Read more on

Suggested Articles

Transporting pharmaceutical products at <-60C for more than 96 hours has seemed an insurmountable challenge. TOWER’s solution has solved the problem.

The countdown to the FDA's first coronavirus vaccine hearing has begun, and new agency documents outline an agenda for the Thursday confab.

Black Americans’ confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is dropping, with only 43% saying they will get a vaccine once it's out—down 22 points since August.