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Pfizer sues P&G over mouthwash TV ads

Crest Pro-Health given unfair advantage over market leader, alleges world's largest pharma firm

Pfizer is suing Procter & Gamble (P&G), alleging that the company made false and misleading claims in a US television advertisement for its Crest Pro-Health mouthwash.

The world's largest pharma firm said its market-leading product Listerine had been unfairly disadvantaged by claims in the ad that four out of five dentists would recommend Crest Pro-Health.

The national advertising campaign has been running on major broadcast and cable networks since December, causing ìirreparable harm and damage to Pfizer, as well as to consumersî, according to a Pfizer spokesman.

ìP&G's false and misleading claims concerning Crest Pro-Health cause a substantial number of consumers to believe that this product is recommended by the vast majority of dentists - which is false - and that these dentists are recommending it for specific product-related reasons -which also is false,î said the Pfizer lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit also states that some 269 dentists were paid $75 each to participate in a survey to give their opinion on Crest Pro-Health. It sought a court order to end the P&G advertising as well as damages at least equal to P&G's profits, gains and advantages.

While P&G has declined to comment, Pfizer said Listerine is the best-selling mouthwash in the US market and has been sold in the country for more than a century. It said Listerine was the first non-prescription mouthwash able to claim legitimately that it combats dental plaque.

2nd September 2008

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