BBDO Worldwide in New York is seeking to carve a niche for itself in the prescription drugs advertising sector with the formation of a new dedicated unit.

BBDO Health Work was launched earlier this week under the stewardship of president Anne Devereux in a bid to gain a chunk of the $2.5 billion (€2.3bn; £1.6bn) of annual direct-to-consumer spend.

The agency is a latecomer to the now crowded sector, and its launch follows a year in which healthcare advertising’s hitherto rapid growth stalled. But BBDO Worldwide president Andrew Robertson believes the move is still worthwhile.

“The category may be declining,” he commented, “but, since we have no business in it, if we can take a significant share of it, we're still going to grow.”

The new BBDO unit is targeting the business of Omnicom Group sibling (and Devereux’s former employer) Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, as well as Interpublic Group-owned Deutsch. “Those are the two that we want to be in the position to be able to compete with and against as soon as possible,” Robertson continued.

A chance to do so may already have arisen – pharmaceutical giant Pfizer last week parted company with Deutsch after the two sides failed to agree remuneration terms.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff