Friday, January 13, 2012

Sanofi vs Novartis: Paul Sorvino vs. Paula Deen

It is rumored that celebrity southern-style chef Paula Deen will soon announce that she has diabetes (surprise) and that she is a spokesperson for Novartis's diabetes franchise (see "Rumors Say Paula Deen Has Diabetes, Will Work for Novartis"). She will compete with Paul Sorvino and daughter who are currently the diabetes spokespeople for Sanofi (see "Diabetes Costars").

How Novartis plans to position Deen as a spokesperson for diabetes awareness should really be interesting. She's not much of a proponent for healthy lifestyle changes, which PhRMA recommends should be part of every direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.

According to the article cited above, "Deen has faced withering criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her dishes. When Deen’s cookbook for kids, 'Lunch-Box Set,' was published in 2009, Barbara Walters asked her, 'You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn’t it bother you that you’re adding to this?'"

In 2009, I took a road trip down south with my son (see photos here). A highlight was when we had lunch  at "The Lady & Sons" — the restaurant Deen owns in Savannah, Ga. We ate the "fried chicken, ribs, cheesy meatloaf and sweet potatoes" for which the restaurant is famous. Here's the scene that day outside the restaurant (TIP: you may not have to wait for a table if you are willing to eat upstairs in the bar; of course, you have to be thin enough to fit on the stools, which may not work for most of these people waiting on line):

While it's a good idea to have an overweight person as a diabetes spokesperson, it's quite another to have an UNAPOLOGETIC overweight person who recommends cheesecake for kids' breakfasts! It's sort of like having a "vulture capitalist" claim he creates jobs!

"The rumors that Novartis has signed a multi-million dollar spokesperson deal with Paula Deen for a diabetes treatment are not true," a Novartis rep told "Novartis is not working with Ms. Deen."  See "Novartis rep: There's no deal with Paula Deen."

[See "My Bad! Paula Dean Shills for Novo Nordisk, Not Novartis" for a followup to this post.]


  1. Does Novartis have a diabetes drug approved for use in the US? I went through their entire pharmaceutical line listed on their US pharma site and could not find one.

  2. Maybe something is coming? According to the Novartis Prize in Diabetes web site (, "Novartis is committed to developing new drugs for the treatment of diabetes and has one of the most robust and extensive research programs focused on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the world."

    Either Novartis plans to launch a diabetes drug in the US or it plans to introduce Deen to Europe in order to fatten up the population there :-)

  3. Novartis's opthalmology drug Lucentis is approved for diabetic macular oedema, which is why it is interested in diabetes.

    (From our site:


  4. OH please, are you trying to suggest all these ppl waiting in line are extremely obese? LOL...We have eyes and we can see that these ppl could be waiting in line at any restaurant in America. I see heavier ppl all the time standing outside steak houses, Cracker Barrel and a zillion other places. Why not go harass some of those owners about their health and lifestyles...Another thing you are such a hypocrite to actually eat at someones restaurant and then write an article only about what you perceive as negative.Did Paula Deen force you to eat there? Did she demand you eat those foods off her menu? I doubt it very much. You are a grown man who needs to take responsibility for your own choices.

  5. Whoa! I suggested no such thing! This is my own personal photo that I took while a road trip with my son. The place was recommended to us - I had nopt heard of paula deen before then. We wanted so much to get in to have lunch but did not have a reservation. So I took a photo just to prove we were there. We then discovered that we could get a table upstairs in the bar area. We loved the food. Luckily, however, we don't have diabetes and are able to eat this stuff. I am not harassing paula deen. If anything, I am harassing Novo Nordisk, you numbnut!


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