An 800 pound gorilla recommends investments; talking babies discuss online stock trading; a gecko works for a car insurance company; a duck wants you to buy disability coverage… What will they think of next?
How about a “retired” flying nun, Sally Field, touting the benefits of Boniva (ibandronate), the first once-a-month bisphosphonate? Take a look at one of the ads for Boniva below:
“I always thought that calcium, vitamin D, and exercise would be enough to keep my bones healthy. Boniva works with your body to help stop and reverse bone loss… I was able to stop and reverse my bone loss, and studies show that after one year on Boniva, nine out of 10 women did too. I’ve got this one body and this one life, so I wanted to stop my bone loss. Ask your doctor if Boniva is right for you.”
So I decided to create my own ad for Boniva… but with a big twist
You see, my Boniva ad actually tells the truth. So now, without further ado, here is my new and accurate Boniva advertisement starring Sally Field:
Sally Field is sitting on her patio couch wearing white jogging pants and a blue t-shirt, her legs curled up on the seat. On top of a small coffee table in front of her, there is a thick and dried-up tree branch and a thin twig. As Enya’s inspiring “Only If” plays softly in the background, she says:
“I always thought that osteoporosis was a disease, and when I was diagnosed with it, my doctor told me that ONLY once-a-month Boniva could reverse my bone loss. At first I believed my doctor, but soon after – fortunately before filling my prescription – I discovered that he was wrong. I read on the internet that osteoporosis is not a disease and that there is a natural and drug-free way to reverse it. I was surprised to learn that Boniva can actually do more harm than good…”
Now there is silence, except for the music crescendo, as Enya sings “If you really want to, you can hear me say; only if you want to will you find a way.” Sally sits up straight and crosses her legs. The music volume is lowered and Sally goes on:
“Taking Boniva makes your bones more prone to fracture, and here’s why this happens. Exactly like its main competitors, Fosamax, Actonel, and Reclast, Boniva works against natural bone metabolism.
You see, Boniva binds to the bone matrix and stops normal bone resorption by inhibiting bone cells known as osteoclasts. Bone resorption is a necessary process to have strong and healthy bones because osteoclasts remove old bone to make space for new healthy, and more resilient bone tissue to be deposited in its place.
As a result of taking Boniva, new bone formation is greatly depressed, and your bones become old and dried-up with long-term accumulation.”
Sally picks up the thick branch and holds it in front of her with outstretched arms
“If you really want to you can seize the day”, Enya sings… Sally smiles and cracks the branch in half and holds the broken pieces in her hands:
“Take a look at this old and dried-up branch and notice how easily I split it in half. That’s exactly what happens to your bones: because Boniva stops your bones from renewing themselves naturally, they look thicker but become brittle.
This detrimental process takes a couple of years, and that’s why scientific studies showing density improvement when taking Boniva focus mainly on short-term results. Even though bone volume does not increase, bone is more densely packed and looks denser. But this stops after a while.
Like you, I want to reverse osteoporosis, but I don’t want to get fooled by a synthetic drug that offers short-sighted help. And what’s more, unlike my doctor, I believe that bone quality is more important than quantity. After all, my goal is to prevent fractures…”
Sally places the broken branch on the table and takes the thin twig in her hands. She tries to crack it, but it is flexible and instead of breaking, it gracefully bends. She continues:
“Now watch how this thinner but young and healthy twig resists breakage. Of course, you want your bones to be like it. So next time your doctor recommends Boniva, feel free to ignore him like I did, and opt for a natural and drug-free way to strengthen your bones.”
The music stops.
Sally gets up and walks away
The screen becomes black and a large Poison warning sign appears with a disclosure that reads:
“Even though this drug has been approved by the appropriate government agency to treat, cure, and prevent osteoporosis, you are basically on your own. Neither the agency nor healthcare practitioners, the latter with very few exceptions, care if you will suffer side effects when taking Boniva. After all, it’s a numbers game.
Moreover, the agencies involved can ignore new research showing detrimental effects of this drug, and even if those are confirmed, may simply issue a warning. Also, you must remember that the makers of Boniva have a lot more money than you, by the billions, and can therefore successfully fight any lawsuit by hiring the best lawyers.”
This remains visible on the screen while a woman’s voice is heard saying:
“If you are looking for a short-term osteoporosis ‘quick-fix’ and still want to take a chance with Boniva, please note that you are risking the following side effects, many of which may be irreversible: nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, severe constipation, inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus, chest pain, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, skin rash, eye problems including vision loss and blurred vision, generalized pain of the muscles, joints, and/or bones, decreased mobility of joints, blood clotting disorders, anemia, dental problems, numbness, tight muscles in the face, seizures, irritability and unusual thoughts and behaviors, altered taste, atrial fibrillation, jaw pain, osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Additionally, as is the case with all bisphosphonate drugs, Boniva interferes with Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) production, an essential antioxidant that performs many important functions in the body. To find out more about how Boniva can ruin your life, please call the toll-free information line at 1-800-4NO-LIES.”
The screen fades to black.
Now that would be truthful advertising. As always, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.