Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lilly's "40 over 40" Erectile Dysfunction Campaign is a "Discredit on the Industry" Says UK Watchdog

According to an article in the London Financial Times:
"Eli Lilly is to be reprimanded by the UK pharmaceutical industry watchdog for 'unbalanced' promotion of its anti-erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, in violation of ethical rules.

"The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority has ruled that the US-based company 'brought discredit' on the industry through a marketing campaign on television, the internet and in brochures in GP surgeries in the UK."
The Lilly campaign that is the focus of this reprimand is the so-call “40 over 40” campaign, which claims that "40 per cent of men aged over 40 had problems with erectile dysfunction."

It's interesting that the UK "watchdog" focused on the failure of the campaign "to cite the side-effects or risks, and in a way that would have encouraged patients to seek a prescription for Cialis."

Back in July, I pointed out EXACTLY how this campaign "encouraged patients to seek a prescription for Cialis:"
"A section of the site is about 'ED treatment options,' which includes a table listing oral treatments, penile injections (ouch!), and vacuum pumps (hmmmm...). But due to EU laws banning DTC advertising, the site cannot mention oral treatments by name and must refer to them as 'product 1,' 'product 2,' and 'product 3.'

"Visitors are urged to talk to their doctors about treatment options -- doc, I would like 'product 1' please. Huh? I suppose Lilly sales reps can prep doctors so that they know that "product 1" = Cialis when UK guys come in and ask for it."

See "40over40: Lilly's DTC ED Awareness Campaign in the UK".
Unfortunately, I did not do a screen capture of the Treatment Options page of the Web site. If you follow that link ( today, you will see this:

It will be interesting to see if the "product 1" ploy is still used when the page is revived and includes side-effect risks. Will it still bring "discredit on the industry"?


  1. Most people think it only happens with older people until it happens to you. Almost 15% of men have sometime in their life has some sort of erectile dysfunction, while men in their sixties this can go up to 75%

  2. Seems like a claim that's relatively unprovable either way - pretty sneaky, but then, who doesn't expect that from the big pharm ads these days? Also, frankly, anyone who doesn't check with a doctor about the side effects and contraindications of any med falls into the realm of Jesse Ventura's "unlegislatable stupidity", IMO.

  3. Anonymous7:03 PM

    tried the pills, they do improve things but boy are they expensive. Not a realistic long term solution

  4. Penile injections? That hurts!

  5. Anonymous10:07 AM

    great post buddy

  6. Alot of men are too embarrased to go to the doctor about it. It's their manhood and pride that are being affected and speaking to their doctor about it will feel to them like the worst thing in the world. What they don't realise is their doctor is professional and probably sees dozens of ED cases a week. It's just another day for him. He's not going to judge you, or embarrass you. He's there to help you.


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