Oh. My. Goodness.
Intueri originally wrote the post about seeing Abilify on the side of a phone booth. I thought it was pretty funny and pretty stupid.
I still find it stupid, but even more so now.
I was on the bus heading to work today (I don’t normally take it) . When it reached a red light near the subway, I saw a telephone booth – akin to the one that you see on the right – draped in an Abilify ad. The ad is exactly what you see here. (If you can’t see it, go to Abilify.com and click on the “see our print adverisement!”)
I work near two major colleges with students who all have cell phones. Adults in the area are too busy thinking about their own problems while heading into the subway. (They, too, are likely to own cell phones.) Public telephones are rarely used anymore. So who’s going to read an ad on Abilify, let alone on a public telephone booth?
Some marketing person at Bristol-Myers Squibb probably thought it would be awesome to have an ad for Abilify near two major colleges. “All the college kids that walk by will see it!”
The readable text – from the bus, anyway – was “Treating bipolar disorder takes understanding.”
Understanding of what? Who’ll actually stand there and go, “Yeah, I need understanding” and walk right up to it to read more.
- “where you’ve been
- where you want to go
- how you want to get there”
I’m ready to understand my history, my future, and the plans I should make. Uh-huh, Abilify will help me do that.
“Ask your doctor or health care professional if ABILIFY is right for you.” [emphasis mine]
The bus didn’t stay there long enough for me to see if they included the safety information, but here’s the gist of what they provide:
- “Acute manic and mixed episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder
- Maintaining efficacy in patients with Bipolar I Disorder with a recent manic or mixed episode who had been stabilized and then maintained for at least 6 weeks “
Someone can explain the last part to me a little better? I’m a mixed-episode case, do I qualify for Abilify?
I was under the impression that Abilify (aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic. Antipsychotics should be prescribed for those who have psychosis. (I may be wrong here; I’m still trying to figure out the difference between typical and atypicals.) I don’t have psychosis. I don’t need Abilify. But the few bipolar people who will read that ad – they’re likely to be homeless – will be misled into thinking that they need Abilify to help them. They’ll go their doctors, saying, “I’ve heard Abilify helps people with bipolar disorder, could I perhaps try it?” PCPs will immediately churn out prescriptions and uneducated psychiatrists (yes, they are out there despite their degrees) will say, “Sure, Abilify works for bipolar disorder. Let’s see if it works for you.” The smart psych would say, “I’m not sure if it would be right for you. It’s an atypical antipsychotic that targets Bipolar I patients who have symptoms of psychosis. Let’s try something else instead.”
So I went on my soapbox. Again. But it angers me to see:
- An Abilify ad on a phone booth. Period.
- A misleading advertisement geared to all people with bipolar disorder (it doesn’t specify until you get to the fine print) that says, “Try this; it may work for you.”
- An advertisement for medication. At all.
What’s next? A marketing blitz by Eli Lilly? “Zyprexa doesn’t cause diabetes! Check out zyprexafacts.com for more information!”
Big Pharma never fails to surprise me.