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NASCAR, lingerie & something else to be screened for!

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Got your attention with the first two, didn’t I? And that’s the point behind celebrity spokespeople pushing health campaigns. NASCAR driver and lingerie ad model Danica Patrick is now promoting an online “screener” for COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

DanicaPatrick_collage.jpg

John Mack gives details on his Pharma Marketing Blog, where he put together this photo montage.

But Mack also raises important questions about the “screener.” He writes:

“The campaign points out that “COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the US” and “an estimated 24 million Americans are affected” and “over half of them don’t even know it.”

In fact, I didn’t know that I MAY have COPD! But thanks to the COPD POPULATION Screener™, which the DRIVE4COPD campaign urges every one to take (see the DRUVE4COPD Web site), I now know it and will talk to my doctor about it, which is the goal of DRIVE4COPD.

You too can find out if you MAY have COPD by taking a simple 5 question test! I had no doubt that I would score high enough to be at risk because:

1. During the past 4 weeks, I DID feel short of breath “a little of the time,” like when I had to shovel some snow, and

2. I DID cough up some “stuff,” such as mucus or phlegm, but “only with occasional colds or chest infections,” and

3. I HAVE smoked at least 100 cigarettes in my ENTIRE LIFE, though I quit smoking about 30 years ago, and

4. I agree (but not STRONGLY agree) that I do less than I used to because of my breathing problems, and

5. I am a man of a certain age (but I won’t say how old).

This is not the first time that I have taken such a screening test without any idea who came up with the questions or how the answers determine whether or not you have a medical condition.”

I, too, took the “screener,” entered the healthiest answers possible, yet still was told by the website:

Don’t wait. Call your doctor today to make an appointment if you may be at risk for COPD.

That’s ridiculous. But that’s what happens with the “Let ‘s SCREEN for everything” marketing mentality that has sprouted wings (and now NASCAR wheels!) in the good old USA.

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Comments (2)

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Toni Brayer, MD

February 6, 2010 at 1:06 am

Pharmaceutical Advertising rules:
1. Use a scantily clad woman or a celeb (better two for one)
2. Make her look sexy and fun
3. If it is for erectile dysfunction or prostate, use a handsome man
with gray hair and show a woman too.
4. Ask ridiculous screening questions that will be answered “yes”.
5. Tell the reader to mention it to the doctor
6. Profess that you are educating the public