Pfizer Sues Proctor & Gamble over Mouthwash Ads

As if pharmaceutical companies are not involved in enough litigation already, Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, is suing Proctor & Gamble Co. (P&G) over claims that the consumer-product giant engaged in false advertising of its Crest Pro Health mouthwash in order to gain an unfair advantage over Pfizer’s Listerine.

Listerine has been sold for over 100 years and is currently the number-one mouthwash in terms of sales. It is sold by Pfizer’s consumer-products unit that is, itself, a major player in the OTC (over-the-counter) health-aid market with such household favorites as Visine, Bengay, and Dramamine.
Apparently, Pfizer is upset by the marketing claims by P&G that four out of five dentists recommend Crest Pro Health because of its superiority and efficacy, which Pfizer alleges are unsubstantiated and untrue.

The lawsuit was commenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (2/6/06).

The complaint seeks to have P&G’s advertising claims stopped on the grounds that they are false and misleading and it seeks monetary damages “at least equal to P&G’s profit, gains and advantages.” (WSJ)

The marketing campaign that Pfizer is suing over has been running since late last year on television (network and cable) and, according to the complaint, has irreparably damaged Pfizer and consumers who have relied on the allegedly false claims that seek to compare Crest Pro Health with Listerine.

Come now boys, can’t we all just get along?

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