AIDS Healthcare Foundation Criticizes Pfizer for New Year’s Eve Ad Promoting Erectile Dysfunction Drug
The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Friday criticized the pharmaceutical company Pfizer for an advertisement for its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra that includes the tagline, "What are you doing on New Year's Eve?" the New York Post reports. The full-page ad, which the company recently printed in the Wall Street Journal, depicts a middle-aged man with a "devilish" grin and states, "Viagra can help guys with all degrees of erectile dysfunction -- from mild to severe," the Post reports (Sanders, New York Post, 12/31/05). AHF President Michael Weinstein called the ad "irresponsible" and "reckless," adding that it implies erectile dysfunction is not required for Viagra use (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/31/05). "It is an outrage that, by referencing the biggest party night of the year, Pfizer would employ an advertising strategy that encourages the use of Viagra as a 'party drug,'" Weinstein said, adding that direct-to-consumer advertising can be misleading, particularly ads that "portray living with HIV to be as simple as popping a pill and then it's a day at the beach" (AHF release, 12/30/05). Pfizer spokesperson Bryant Haskins said, "Contrary to allegations that the ads promote unsafe sex, our ads specifically urge readers to remember to protect themselves and their partners from sexually transmitted diseases" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/31/05).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.