Berlex Contacts Shops

NEW YORK Berlex Laboratories, a U.S. affiliate of German drug giant Schering AG, has contacted agencies about its estimated $20-25 million ad account, sources said.

Berlex markets women’s contraceptives, cancer medications and drugs that treat skin disorders and debilitating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. The company is based in Denville, N.J., but also has operations in California and Washington. Last year, it rang up sales of slightly less than $1 billion.

Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson in New York has handled the bulk of Berlex’s creative duties, including the contraceptive brands Yasmin and Mirena and hormonal therapy patch Climara. The shop won the business last year. Media duties for those brands have been with sister shop Universal McCann.

Universal McCann, however, resigned Berlex media upon winning new Johnson & Johnson media planning business last month, sources said. McCann in New York won some new product assignments from J&J that could be perceived as conflicts with the Berlex, so McCann is not expected to defend, sources said.

The shops were contacted by Jin Li Allen, a Berlex executive and former senior vice president of corridor operations at Torre Lazur McCann Healthcare in New York. Before Torre Lazur, Allen was vice president, director of client services at medical advertising shop Ribotsky Worldwide in Somerset, N.J. Allen, who left Torre Lazur in April, did not return calls.