Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Making Fun of Pharma Marketing is Easy

I've just returned from a few days vacation on the beach in Sunny Isles, Florida and I haven't yet recovered from the Motivational Deficiency Disorder (MDD) symptoms that resulted!

Haven't heard about MDD? You might want to take a look at the following video produced by the folks at Consumers International (CI) . The video explains what MDD is, how it's treated, and -- most importantly -- how one pharmaceutical company markets Strivor, its new MDD treatment:

I particularly like the part about 4 minutes into this video where the good doctor talks about clinical trial results on sloths.
"You've seen nothing," says the doctor who invented Strivor, "until you've seen a sloth that's motivated, I'll tell you!"
Ba Boom!

Ha, Ha, Ha.

The anti-pharma marketing shenanigans of CI have only recently caught the attention of blogs like the WSJ Health Blog (see "Striving for an Antidote to Drug Marketing") and Pharmalot (see "Do You Have Motivational Deficiency Disorder?").

This MDD spoof may be new to some bloggers, but I highlighted the first MDD video spoof back in January, 2007 (see my post "Disease Mongering and Pharma Credibility"). I thought this first video was quite well done. Some of the recent MDD videos produced by this group, however, merely remix scenes or recreate similar scenes. The latest iteration features a woman sufferer of MDD (click here to see that video).

Frankly, I do not see any women sufferers of MDD, which I believe mostly affects young men between the ages of 14 and 28. The messy surroundings depicted in the video look EXACTLY like my son's frat room!

The problem is, the majority of men suffering from MDD do not want to change and get up before 2-3 PM. Consequently, the MDD spoof was funny the first time I saw, but not so much now.

Consumers International looks like it's based in Australia where direct to consumer (DTC) advertising is not legal. Physician marketing and working with patient organizations, however, is legal and the video above spoofs pharma "marketing" practices disguised as education.

Producing video spoofs of pharmaceutical marketing practices is all the rage these days it seems. Here in the U.S., Consumer Union also produces such videos (see "Consumer Reports Rip Rozerem Ad -- A New One!", for example).

It turns out that there's a connection between CU and CI. According to the FAQs on the CI Web site:

What sort of organisations are Consumers International members and where are they located?
Consumers International's members include a wide range of different independent consumer organisations.

At one end of the scale is the Consumers Union in the US, which was founded almost 70 years ago and has more than 300 staff and 4.5 million individual consumers as its own members. At the other end are semi-voluntary associations providing information and advice and concentrating on education and community development to improve access to food, water and other basic services in some of the world's poorest countries.

Government Affiliates similarly run from major competition and fair trading agencies to recently established government departments in small countries addressing consumer issues for the first time.

About two-thirds of member organisations are in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central/Eastern Europe and in countries of the former Soviet Union, the other third in Western Europe and North America.
I suppose these spoofs are supposed to be educational, but like the DTC ads they make fun of, I get more entertainment value than educational value from them. It's easy to make fun of pharma marketing practices, especially when your goal is to end these practices. That's where my spoofs making fun of pharma marketing differ from CI's spoofs -- my goal is better, more effective, and more educational pharmaceutical marketing. Just thought I'd point that out.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:52 AM

    Consumers International is the umbrella organisation for consumer organisations internationally. 220 member organisations (Consumers Union being but one of them)in 115 countries. Headquarters in London, regional offices in Kuala Lumpur and Santiago.


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