FDA Demands Big Pharma Stop Misleading Ads on Google, Yahoo

Very interesting article on Advertising Age detailing letters sent to top drug makers telling them to stop ads on Google and Yahoo touting the benefits of their drugs, without also describing potential risks. How are they going to do that in the constraints of a Google Adwords ad? They aren’t.

Reporter Marissa Miley says:

“The FDA called out nearly every major drug maker, including Bayer, Biogen Idec, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cephalon, Eli Lilly, Forest Laboratories, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis, in addition to nearly 50 drug brands. The letters, which were not warning letters but so-called pre-emptive, untitled letters, requested an immediate end to the ads and written responses from the companies by April 9. Some of the changes will include disassociating a branded drug from the condition it seeks to treat in the search ad’s headline, description lines and even URL name.”

And (like the old joke about what do you call twelve dead lawyers in the bottom of a swimming pool) that’s what I’d call a “good start”, but no where near enough. Big Pharma’s drug ads saturate the internet and television with deceptive ads promising help they know their products don’t deliver, while skipping lightly over (or in this case failing to mention entirely) their side effects like death, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

You can probably tell I’m no fan of Big Pharma. The more you find out about what they’re up to, the more outraged you should be.

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