Over at Terra Sigillata, Abel Pharmboy dissects the deeper meaning of the Rozarem ad which features Abe Lincoln, a beaver and a scuba diver telling an insomniac how much they miss him. The ad is hawking Takeda Pharm’s latest little sleeping pill. The Rozarem campaign is a departure from the usual direct-to-consumer drug advertising. It’s certainly edgier and more surreal than Mandy Patinkin looking sincerely into the camera and urging you to “ask your doctor about Crestor.”
I am not a fan (to say the least) of pharma’s DTC advertising, but I’ll leave my frothing rant on that subject for another time. When I first started in the Biz 18 years ago this month, ads for prescription drugs were confined to JAMA, The Lancet, or speciality journals. These were the days before e-journals and pdf’s. There were some pretty intriguing ones to be found as glossy color prints or more subdued black and white tones. When I worked on targets for prostate cancer, I often read, appropriately enough, The Prostate, and also the Journal of Urology. Some of the ads in the latter were eyebrow-raising. Who knew there were, uh, gadgets like that for male plumbing? Honestly, the impact of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors cannot be underestimated. Then there was the article on cosmetic surgery to reverse circumcision, complete with figures and diagrams.
In addition to articles on “I never would have thought about that” urological surgery, I sometimes got sidetracked by the drug ads, particularly as I hunted for older articles. I expect that this collection of vintage drug ads has been noted in Science Blogs before my momentous arrival, but heck, it deserves a reprise now that Abel is discussing beavers and dead presidents. I mean, what well-meaning doc could resist writing a ‘scrip for this marvelous sleep aid?
And for Kevin’s pals over at the Stop the ACLU site, I think a bit of chlorpromazine is in order.
Check out the link for many more. I think only two of the companies, Abbott and Lilly, who sold those old-timey drugs, remain intact and as yet unacquired and unmerged.