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Bristol-Myers offers competing drug for free

The Associated Press
Thursday August 16, 2001

NEW YORK — Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is offering a free, one month supply of its prescription cholesterol drug Pravachol in a bid to capture patients who took a competing drug Bayer Corp. pulled from the market last week amid safety concerns. 

Full-page ads in at least three major newspapers Monday offered users of Bayer's drug Baycol a free 30 day supply of Pravachol. Patients must get their doctor to prescribe the drug for them to take advantage of the offer. 

Bayer removed Baycol from the market Aug. 8; the drug has been linked to 52 deaths. 

Merck & Co. took out a full page ad in last Friday's Wall Street Journal with a banner headline designed to alert Baycol users to its drug Zocor. But Bristol-Myers's more aggressive stance likely reflects that Pravachol is the company's biggest selling drug and has been losing market share to Zocor and market leader Lipitor, which is made by Pfizer Inc. 

Bristol-Myers' ads appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and The Philadelphia Inquirer, according to Bristol spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs. She did not know if the campaign would continue. She declined to discuss other marketing strategies for Pravachol. 

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