According to the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion of the United States, the recent advertisement by Pfizer about the estradiol vaginal ring (Estring) has been looked over by FDA. The direct to consumer advertisement does not have the risk facts of the drug.
Food and Drug Administration in a letter said, “The video has misleading claims and/or representation about the risks associated with the efficiency of ESTRING.” In addition, the drug has very adverse effects on human life especially women. Estring can cause endometrial cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and breast cancer. Hence, the video does not give the right impression of the drug.
When the interviewer asked the patient in the advertisement if there are any effects of the drug the patient’s response was, “I do not experience any side effects, I was able to just feel relief.” This statement by the patient in the advertisement does not bring a true picture of every patient that will perhaps use the drug. In some ways, it might be her true experience of the drug but truly, it might not be the same to all patients.
A representative of Pfizer said that the advertisement was made to promote National Women’s Health Week that was in May. The drug in question is used to treat vulvar and vaginal atrophy caused due to menopause in women. Also in a mail to FiercePharma Pfizer said that “The safety and the appropriate use of our medicines are of the utmost importance.”
They also added, “Pfizer is familiar with the importance of appropriately communicating about medical conditions and the risks and benefits of our medications. We take this matter very seriously and remain committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The action by the office of prescription and drug promotion has been hailed. However, this comes after long criticism of the organization. In 2015, the organization wrote only nine letters to pharmaceutical companies for violating marketing regulations. This changed in 2016, where they sent 11 letters to different pharmaceutical companies for similar drug marketing violations.
In 2014, OPDP issued 10 letters warning different pharmaceutical companies of violating marketing rules. However, the organization has faced a challenge to curb social media advertisement. Up to now, it has only delivered one letter that was in form of a guideline to social media advertisement.