Consumer News

Pfizer Prescribed a Truth Pill

Pfizer overstated the benefits and efficiency of a popular antibiotic in a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.

Consumer News

Pfizer Prescribed a Truth Pill

Pfizer overstated the benefits and efficiency of a popular antibiotic in a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign to parents of children with ear infections, according to an investigation by Attorneys General in 19 states.

The states found that in marketing Zithromax, the company’s ads failed to mention important factors that must be considered when prescribing antibiotics.

As part of a $6 million settlement, Pfizer must spend $2 million on public service announcements for the next three cold seasons and disclose a statement in its ads saying:

Remember that antibiotics do not work for viral infections, such as cold or flu, so do not insist on a prescription for an antibiotic. Only your doctor can decide what type of infection your child has and the best way to treat it.

In agreeing to the settlement, Pfizer denied any and all claims of wrongdoing.

Six months earlier, the FDA sent a warning letter to Pfizer for a different Zithromax antibiotic – Zmax.  In the warning letter, the FDA stated that the Zmax brochure was “false and misleading because it omits and minimizes important risk information, makes unsubstantiated superiority claims, omits material facts, broadens the indication for the drug product, makes misleading efficacy claims, and makes unsubstantiated claims for Zmax.”

Read more about direct-to-consumer marketing here.


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