Consumers Getting Wiser About Toxic Drugs and Drugmakers Are Noticing...

You may recall an article I posted last month about a FDA loophole that allows AstraZeneca and Procter & Gamble to control the market on proton pump inhibitors (PPI) like Prilosec and Nexium that protects and even enhances the sales of both drugs. Shortly afterward, TAP Pharmaceutical Products, the suburban Chicago drugmaker that manufacturers Prevacid, purchased print ads in newspapers nationwide, selling the virtues of its worthless PPI by warning former users of COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex and Vioxx they may be at risk of stomach problems.

It's indicative of the bait-and-switch marketing practices the mega-pharmaceuticals use that often endanger your health needlessly. Which is why I was somewhat surprised TAP announced today that it was yanking its current TV ad campaign for Prevacid -- nearly $100 million -- in favor of a new focus: Print ads that more easily explain the potential side effects and health risks. The article also reports Johnson & Johnson has made the switch too.

Why the change? Perhaps, consumers are getting skeptical and smarter about the myriad of claims drugmakers use to sell their products, according to a Johnson & Johnson that has recently begun airing a commercial that addresses the risks of using its Ortho Evra contraceptive patch.

Of course, it could have something to do with the FDA's recent crackdown on deceptive claims in media ads, like the 15-second TV ad pulled last week by Bayer that promoted the sexual dysfunction drug Levitra. In it, the ad feature an attractive woman -- called Queen Levitra by The Wall Street Journal -- who describes how Levitra provides a "quality experience."

Forbes.com April 19, 2005

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 19, 2005

Chicago Tribune April 19, 2005 Registration Required

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