Dr. Phil McGraw, the famous TV psychologist, has signed on as a paid spokesperson for AstraZeneca’s diabetes drug Bydureon.
A report published at Vox explained Dr. Phil will be making media appearances soon to talk about how he’s lived with type 2 diabetes for the past 25 years.
However, this development raises some concerning ethical questions, like how Bydureon may not be the most effective treatment for diabetes.
The Food and Drug Administration considers it a “second-line medication,” according to New York. Physicians should prescribe it if treatment regimens incorporating other drugs have failed. Insulin like Sanofi’s Lantus have tended to be the top choice for treating diabetes, but sales have declined over the past year.
READ MORE: Dr. Oz and the Weight Loss Claim Controversy
Also, New York notes Bydureon is saddled with a “black box” warning label due to the chance it could increase a patient’s risk for thyroid cancer.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson told Vox that Dr. Phil “wouldn’t be talking about the drug per se – but he will be accompanied by a medical doctor who will surely fill in any blanks.” That doctor will be paid by AstraZeneca.
Celebrity involvement with promoting drugs or similar health issues can backfire. Last year, Dr. Mehmet Oz defended himself against a group of doctors who sought his resignation from Columbia University, citing past examples where they felt he promoted “quack treatments” without much scientific proof.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery