Thursday, September 06, 2007

What's Up with the Veramyst "Brief Summary" Print Ad?

Veramyst is GSK's answer to Flonase going off patent.
"When Flonase went off patent, GlaxoSmithKline lost one of it's major money-makers," notes Pharmacy Mike, blogger over at Retail Pharmacy, Life, and General Lunacy. "Their response... Veramyst! Flonase is Fluticasone Propionate. Veramyst is the vastly improved fluticasone furoate."
You may have seen the new direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads for Veramyst on TV. I have. The one piece of information my wife and I took away from that ad was "may cause cataracts"!

Very Strange Print Ad
Maybe that's why GSK is running a very strange Veramyst print ad that is merely the "brief summary' -- which is neither brief, nor a summary -- aka, patient package insert (PPI). The image above shows the ad just as it appears in the September 10, 2007, issue of Time Magazine. It's prominently placed on a right-hand page within an editorial piece about John Edwards where you can't miss it!
Note: Pfizer ran a "Viva Viagra!" print ad within the same article. This is your typical drug print ad (see image below). On the reverse side of the Viagra ad is the brief summary, which is in large font and easy to read (not shown in the image below).

Usually, in print ads, the PPI appears on the back side of the display ad (see my analysis of print ads: "Print DTC: How Does It Measure Up?"). Nobody usually reads the PPI precisely because it's on the back of print ads and printed in dreadfully small font size -- just like the Veramyst PPI depicted above.

When I first saw the very strange Veramyst print ad in Newsweek, I thought the printer messed up and forgot to print the display portion of the ad -- you know, the nice big photo of a happy user of the product, big product shot, big benefit statement, some balance about side effects, like the Viva Viagra! ad.

But when I saw the ad again in Time Magazine, I knew it could NOT be a fluke.

Then, I thought perhaps the display ad was printed somewhere else in the magazine. But no! It is nowhere to be found!

I am only left with one conclusion: GSK purposely ran this "Brief Summary ad" for reasons that totally escape me.

If anyone knows the logic behind this, please let me and the readers of this blog know.


  1. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Hmmm...Interesting. Then again, we are talking about a company who's main product was stopped from being produced by the FDA for known and on-going production problems in Puerto Rico. This is the same company who's stock is still at the same level it was when it merged AND who's CEO gets large bonuses. Go figure.

  2. Anonymous1:45 PM

    The likely explanation...GSK didn't have enough time to finalize its full print ad before they wanted to launch the TV campaign. Why this run a branded TV ad, the FDA requires a print ad to run simultaneously as part of the 'adequate provision' to provide full risk disclosure. In the rush to put a TV ad on-air, sometimes a company runs just the brief summary to meet this FDA requirement. This happens as lead-times to get an ad into magazines can be longer than to get a TV ad on-air. This is far from the first time I've seen this scenario over the past 10 years of branded TV.

  3. Anonymous1:46 PM

    How about DDMAC didn't like the ad. GSK is walking a thin line with this product. They say it works for eye symptoms but one of their studies failed and the FDA wouldn't give them an indication so it let them include some of the eye symptom data.

  4. anonymous #2:

    Thanks for your explanation, which makes sense in a warped sort of way.

    Talk about integrating the elements of your ad campaign!


  5. Anonymous12:11 AM

    I am a healthcare practicioner and have been using Veramyst personally for the past 2 months with great improvement in both my nasal and ocular sx. During the product launch period, the GSK sales reps only had the PI info and dosing cards in hand as they said it was the fastest FDA approval for a molecule of its kind, in addition to their new device. That may explain why things seem to be pieced together last second? As far as the cataracts and glaucoma concern, if you review the data from the 1 year safety trial, found in the PI, you will see that it had a stellar safety profile. As a healthcare professional, I would suggest that you review the PI information before discussing medicine in the public forum. The safety of patients should not be left to speculation.

  6. Dear HCP:

    Thanks for your comments.

    I am not discussing drugs, I am discussing drug marketing and advertising.

    It's not necessary for me to read the PI of every dug whose marketing campaign I discuss. If the advertising overemphasizes side effects in my mind, then that's something I have the right to comment on, no matter what the PI says.

    That Veramyst has "stellar safety record" is beside the point.

  7. Anonymous3:44 PM

    This whole GSK campaign is bizarre. It is now November and last night on TV a Veramyst ad ran.

    "The way VERAMYST works is not entirely understood." - TV commercial photo

    Can anyone rationally explain language like this in an ad for a drug approved by the FDA?


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