Have You Seen the New Yaz Commercials?
This weekend, I saw a new commercial for Yaz birth control, which features a female spokesperson and started with a statement along the lines that the FDA thought the previous ads were inadequate and asked that they clear up a few things.
I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve noticed an explicit “the FDA made us do this” message in a drug ad.
The FDA really did make them do it, though, issuing a warning letter [PDF] last October stating that “The TV Ads are misleading because they broaden the drug’s indication, overstate the efficacy of YAZ, and minimize serious risks associated with the use of the drug.”
Don’t remember the ads in question? What if I sing “we’re not gonna take it” or “goodbye to you” for you? And you picture women kicking away or popping balloons with words like “irritability?” Also, Sarah Haskins featured one of the ads in her Target Women: Birth Control bit, and you can likely find them on YouTube.
You see, YAZ is approved for “PMDD” – premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a diagnosis akin to “really super-severe PMS, with depression” that entered the general consciousness when the patent on Prozac was running out and so its maker repackaged the drug as Sarafem. [See this related discussion on direct-to-consumer advertising from Our Bodies Ourselves]
The ads, though, didn’t make that clear, that YAZ is not intended for everyday (or everymonth, I guess) PMS symptoms. The FDA warned that the:
“TV ads misleadingly suggest that YAZ is appropriate for treating women with PMS, who may not be appropriate candidates for this drug. We note that despite listing certain symptoms of PMDD, nowhere do the TV Ads use the full phrase ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder,’ to more completely distinguish PMDD from PMS, thereby increasing the likelihood that a viewer, in light of the claims and presentations described below, will understand it to be the same as, or substantially similar to, PMS.”
Has anybody else seen the new ad? I wasn’t able to find a copy online yet, but it certainly caught my attention with the language specifying that FDA had made them produce clarifying ads. Yay.