Tag Archives: advertising

Disease-awareness campaigns merit extra scrutiny, experts say

Image by Alvin Gogineni, Genentech via NIH Image Gallery on Flickr

Image by Alvin Gogineni, Genentech via NIH Image Gallery on Flickr

This is part 2 of a package on sponsored disease awareness campaigns and other controversial drug marketing practices, focusing on Biogen’s efforts to build a market for its recently approved drug for Alzheimer’s disease. Check out part 1, which posted on August 4.

Biogen’s marketing campaigns about mild cognitive impairment drew protests from several physicians, but don’t expect federal regulators to more strictly regulate such ads and similar disease-awareness promotions.

Neither the FDA nor the FTC actively monitors claims made in pharmaceutical marketing about medical conditions if the name of a medicine isn’t mentioned. Continue reading

Explaining Biogen’s controversial ‘MCI’ advertising to your audience

New marketing campaigns about forgetfulness and distraction could lead people to seek the costly Aduhelm drug for Alzheimer’s disease even if they haven’t been diagnosed with the condition, several experts have warned.

By working to expand the market of people seeking treatment for mild cognitive impairment,  Biogen could needlessly expose many people to a drug with known risk but as yet unproven potential benefit, some researchers said. (See “Do we all have Alzheimer’s? Drug makers might want you to think so,” Adriane Fugh-Berman and Patricia Bencivenga of Georgetown University, Baltimore Sun, July 16, and “‘When Memory Fades’: Misinformation about Alzheimer’s disease and Aduhelm must be limited,” Madhav Thambisetty of Johns Hopkins University, STAT, July 21.) Continue reading

Major COVID-19 vaccine ad campaign to roll out next week

Dr. Anthony Fauci getting his vaccination.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received his COVID-19 vaccination.

Journalists covering the COVID-19 vaccine rollout should watch out on Jan. 21 for the Ad Council’s unveiling of an advertising campaign to increase the public confidence getting vaccinated.

The nonprofit group, which led the advertising campaign to garner public support for the polio vaccine in the 1950s, plans to focus especially on communities of color, which polls show are skeptical of the vaccine. Continue reading

Communicating drug risks in pharma marketing: A new FDA challenge

pill bottle label

Photo: Joel Rorabaugh via FreeImages.com

Many American consumers may not realize this, but only New Zealand and the United States are the only countries with strong pharmaceutical regulations in which direct-to-consumer advertising from pharma companies is allowed.

All those TV commercials and double-spread ads for prescription drugs – whether it’s for erectile dysfunction drugs or mental disorders or high blood pressure or some chronic condition – are missing from the media in most of the world.

The way such ads look and sound (including the usual mind-numbing text block tucked into a print ad detailing risks and potential side effects, or a hastily spoken voice-over toward the end of a commercial), may soon change. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is revising regulations governing how companies communicate risk to consumers. Continue reading

Journalists taken aback by AP’s tweets about pharmaceutical company

Journalists on Twitter were surprised, even dismayed, on Tuesday when tweets from The Associated Press prompted followers to “Visit AstraZeneca’s YouTube channel.”

I asked Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations, about the “Sponsored Tweets.” His response to me – and several others who had questions – is that this is nothing new and other news outlets are doing it, too.

The Associated Press began using “Sponsored Tweets” in January in conjunction with the International CES (consumer electronics show). The press release announcing the “innovative advertising” says the tweets would be provided by the advertiser and handled by staff outside the AP newsroom:

The AP developed internal guidelines in recent months so that it may build new business models in the new media landscape without compromising its newsroom values and principles.

A more in-depth piece on the Muck Rack blog about the venture provides further insight into why the AP is using them and how they are generated. In the post, Ken Detlet, the AP’s vice president of digital advertising, said “It’s a useful tool, when used tactfully, to promote meaningful content.”

We’ve gathered a sampling of reactions from journalists and we’re interested in hearing from our readers. Is labeling them as “Sponsored Tweets” enough? Do you think this will become more prevalent? What would be your reaction to seeing such tweets in your stream? Did you know that AP and other news organizations are including advertising in their tweets? Use the comment section to share your thoughts.

Saerom Yoo, a reporter at The Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore.:

Blythe Bernhard, a health and medical reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Will Yong, an associate producer with Al Jazeera’s “Listening Post:”

Annie Lowrey, an economic policy reporter for The New York Times:

Jane McManus, a sportswriter with ESPNNewYork.com and ESPNW:

Ben Popken, a writer and editor with NBC News: