“Selling sickness” means that the line between healthy and sick becomes blurred – and demand for medical treatment increases. If you’re a drug company, it’s a swell way to get consumers to demand treatment that may or may not even be necessary. So says a Dutch study that investigated industry-funded information campaigns around common conditions like restless legs syndrome, overactive bladder and heartburn.
These “ask your doctor” campaigns focused on symptom advertising or disease mongering.
Dutch law, as in Canada (but not, significantly, in only two countries: the U.S. and New Zealand) prohibits “Direct To Consumer” public advertising of prescription drugs. You might well wonder why these two countries are the only ones on earth who still permit this marketing practice. Continue reading →
Apparently, there have been a lot of satisfied yet exhausted male rats lying about in Montreal research labs lately, smoking that post-coital cigarette and wondering what on earth has gotten into their little nympho rat partners all of a sudden. This is largely thanks to an experimental drug designed to reawaken female sexual desire by blunting inhibition. (We used to call this ‘getting wasted’ back in art college, a pastime which had a similar inhibition-blunting effect on us). Although yet to publish any clinical test results showing the drug is actually effective, the German drugmaker Boehringer* is putting the finishing touches on a pill that, unlike Viagrawhich targets the mechanics of sex by boosting blood flow to the penis, works on the female brain. Continue reading →
This Stayfree magazine spoof of a fictitious drug called PANEXA would be hilarious if it weren’t so eerily close to how Big Pharma is actually marketing prescription drugs. This “Ask Your Doctor” type of ad is what Big Pharma calls Direct To Consumer advertising – and it really works.
PLEASE READ THIS SUMMARY CAREFULLY, THEN ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT PANEXA AND HOW TO PROVIDE YOU WITH LARGE QUANTITIES. THIS ADVERTISEMENT DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF ADVICE FROM YOUR DOCTOR; RATHER, IT PROVIDES YOU WITH NEW INFORMATION ABOUT NEW DRUGS YOU SHOULD BE USING.
PANEXA is a prescription drug that should only be taken by patients experiencing one of the following disorders:
This is a page from Twitter. Each of the <140-character postings in the middle column is called a Tweet, purportedly written by American racecar driver Charlie Kimball, who “partners with Novo Nordisk to prove his high performance career is possible with diabetes”.
This is what drug companies like Novo Nordisk call a “branded Tweet” and a “Direct to Consumer” (DTC) ad. All that very fine barely readable print on the left sidebar is about Novo Nordisk’s long-acting insulin called Levemir.
The branded Tweet does not mention any benefits of Levemir because it’s a reminder ad, which is not required to include side effect information if it does not mention any benefits. Instead, this reminder ad for Levemir lets Charlie Kimball act as the shill for Novo Nordisk. Continue reading →