Drug Ad Interdiction

My favorite celebrity ad featured former US Senator (R-Kansas), and 1996 Presidential candidate BobDole for something called ED.

 

One of my colleagues REALLY hates those commercials featuring non-medical celebrities who hawk prescription medicines. For instance, if she develops osteoporosis, she’s not going to use Boniva just because actress Sally Field has recommended it in a series of advertisements; I assume she actually has the condition. Among other things, some Boniva ads are misleading, according to Consumer Reports. Google Sally Field Boniva and you’ll see Sally Field – The Boniva Drug Pimp, and other less than flattering characterizations.

Now, actress Blythe Danner is plugging a similar product, Prolia, for a condition she has. The elaborate staging of Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom is unconvincing from a viewer’s POV. Actress Janine Turner, who has chronic dry eye, used to promote Restasis.

Of course, my favorite celebrity ad featured former US Senator (R-Kansas), and 1996 Presidential candidate BobDole for something called ED. The initials are made up by the pharmaceutical companies, in part to avoid addressing embarrassing topics, in this case, erectile dysfunction, a/k/a impotence, for which he was taking Viagra after prostate cancer surgery. But initials are more memorable in pharmaceutical advertising. Indeed the direct-to-consumer drug ads prompt patients ask their doctor for various prescriptions, generally more than what is medically necessary.

I so wish the flood of pharmaceutical ads would end in the US. But we’re quite unlikely to see that genie put back into the bottle.