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Unbranded Chantix Ads Allow Pfizer to Ignore Side Effects | cialis online

Unbranded Chantix Ads Allow Pfizer to Ignore Side Effects

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Drug companies are increasingly using marketing campaigns that leave out medication names, as well as side effect information. Drug companies like these “unbranded” ads because the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require that they list safety information like side effects. Advertisements that mention a medication by name must include the reading of possible side effect. Drug company marketing execs claim that reading off side effects takes up too much time in an expensive 30 or 60 second spot. But when a drug is the subject of safety concerns, these rules can make unbranded advertising an even more attractive option for pharmaceutical companies.

Take the example of Pfizer, Inc.’s “My Time to Quit” campaign for Chantix. In the spot, a middle-age woman tells the camera, “At 6:30 in the morning, I have a cigarette. And then another on my way to work.” Viewers are then directed to, where they can receive information on smoking cessation. Visitors to the site find a link to a Chantix site that contains information on the antismoking drug, including the negative side effects.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Pfizer first aired the “My Time to Quit” ads in 2006, shortly after it came on the market. But the ad was eventuall dropped in favor of one that named Chantix, and included safety information.

But this year, Chantix made news because of some of the side effects associated with it. In November 2007, and again in February 2008, the FDA warned Chantix had been associated with suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric side effects. At the time of the February alert, the FDA asked Pfizer to elevate the prominence of safety information regarding such side effects to the warnings and precautions section of the Chantix prescribing information, or labeling.

Then, earlier this summer, the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued a report detailing Chantix adverse event reports to the FDA. The report, which was released in May, specifically cited 224 reports of potential heart-rhythm disturbances, 372 reports of possible movement disorders and 544 reports of likely glycemic problems, including diabetes. There were also reports of a dozen traffic accidents linked to Chantix.

Following the Institute’s report, Pfizer pulled ads that named Chantix, and went back to the unbranded “My Time To Quit” campaign.

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