‘Alarming. Horrifying.’ These are some of the adjectives used to describe a recently launched Novartis TV and advertising campaign for heart failure drug, Entresto.
While those who signed off on the campaign likely were trying to get sharp reactions, they’re getting a little more than they bargained for: criticism from doctors, including the cardiologist who led the key trial testing the company’s heart failure drug, reports CardioBrief.
In the commercial, a man sits reading a newspaper while water rises slowly in his living room, illustrating the threat of heart failure. His dog climbs to higher ground, whining in fear, but the man stays oblivious. A heart beats in the background as a voiceover says:
“With heart failure, danger is always on the rise. Symptoms worsen because your heart isn’t pumping well. About 50 percent of people die within five years of getting diagnosed. But there’s something you can do. Talk to your doctor about heart failure treatment options. Because the more you know the more likely you are to keep it pumping.”
Milton Packer, a cardiologist at Baylor University in Dallas, has been a prominent advocate of Entresto and led its trial, but he told CardioBrief, “This ad really disturbs me. It is alarmist, and I am not certain that is a good thing for patients.”
Two other doctors quoted in the blog said they “found the ad to be horrifying and crafted to evoke fear and uncertainty” and that it’s “irresponsible to play on the fears of patients in such a brazen and manipulative way.”
Packer also takes issue with direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, saying “there’s good reason to tell patients that there may be new options for them for heart failure treatment,” but that discussion “first needs to take place among physicians before the message is delivered to patients.”
In a similar vein, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted in November to call for a ban on DTC advertising, as part of a plan to reduce drug costs. According to the AMA, DTC pushes the demand for expensive treatments instead of less-costly alternatives which may be just as effective.
Read the entire blog here, including a comment from Novartis.
You can watch the Entresto ad here.
What do you think? — Is the ad effective in creating awareness of the dangers of heart failure? Or is it unnecessarily alarmist?
Filed Under: Drug Discovery