BMS Pulls AIDS Diarrhea Ad Campaign, Says AHF

March 2, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment


Drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) appears to have pulled a controversial print advertising campaign focusing on diarrhea in HIV/AIDS patients that critics say was designed to mislead and frighten patients in an attempt to recruit them away from other manufacturers’ HIV/AIDS drugs to BMS’ own similar medications. BMS’ move comes on the heels of the publication of a parody of the ad criticizing Bristol-Myers Squibb’s AIDS drug advertising tactics that was created by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) (http://www.aidshealth.org), the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organization in the US. AHF’s parody has been published in some of the same media outlets where BMS’ original AIDS diarrhea ad campaign ran.




The original BMS ad features a full page image of a toilet piled high with magazines with the ominous headline, “Living with HIV doesn’t mean you have to live here.” The BMS ad also encourages patients to “Ask your doctor if there are HIV medications with a low risk of diarrhea.”




In its parody, AHF lampoons BMS’ misleading and fear-based patient recruitment advertisement that has been running in targeted gay and AIDS-related press outlets nationwide. AHF’s parody uses the original BMS ad as a template with a ‘black box’ warning superimposed over the top right corner of the ad with a clear notation that the parody is, “A public service announcement from AIDS Healthcare Foundation.” AHF’s public service announcement plays off the BMS ad’s diarrhea-themed headline by adding the blunt sub-headline, “We don’t give a crap how you live as long as you buy our drug!”




“Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ad is a blatant attempt to scare and mislead patients and interfere in the doctor/patient relationship in an attempt to intimidate patients into switching to BMS’ own HIV/AIDS drugs,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AHF opposes such deceptive so-called ‘help-seeking’ advertising tactics and we will continue to educate HIV/AIDS patients to the manipulative, fear-based patient recruitment tactics that BMS is using.”




“This BMS ad campaign injects confusion and profit motives into medical decisions that should be made based solely on one’s medical needs and through conversations and collaboration between health care providers and their patients,” said Homayoon Khanlou, MD, Chief of Medicine/US for AIDS Healthcare Foundation.




“We tweaked and spoofed the BMS ad so that it became a thought-provoking parody exposing the scare tactics used by BMS,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “We are glad that BMS has pulled its ad and hope our parody also serves as a catalyst to raise awareness about other questionable advertising tactics the drug industry employs to increase its profit margins.”




To view an image of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s parody ad spoofing BMS, please visit: http://www.aidshealth.org



About AHF




AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation’s largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organization. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 96,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia.



AIDS Healthcare Foundation

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]

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