Last week, Steven Brill asked on the Columbia Journalism Review website, “Are Diane Sawyer, Scott Pelley and Brian Williams hooked on Cymbalta?” Excerpt:
Every time I suffer through the (simultaneously timed) commercial breaks on one of the network evening news shows I wish I could read a story about prescription drug advertising on television. I’ll bet these ads now account for two-thirds or more of revenues for the network news shows, whose viewer demographics are apparently perfect targets for drugs directed at older people with erectile dysfunction, withering bones, dry eyes, insomnia, lung malfunction (as illustrated by an elephant sitting on some guy’s chest), incontinence, and whatever it is that is cured by something called Cymbalta, whose ads I think I saw on all three shows the other night.
To what extent does the federal government’s decision to allow, beginning in the mid-1990s, such direct-to-consumer ads keep these once-revered nightly news shows afloat?
This week, I learned that CBS apparently rejected an ad promoting the new movie, “The Three Stooges,” because it “makes light of prescription drug ads.” Read more on John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog and links therein. Here’s the movie ad: