Osteoporosis drug ads vie for newspaper space despite lawsuit

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Just one week after Actonel marketers Procter & Gamble and Sanofi-Aventis filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt advertising for Roche and GlaxoSmithKline’s jointly-marketed Boniva, advertisements for both osteoporosis drugs appeared together within the main section of The New York Times. The ads, both full-page spots, appeared in today’s late edition of the newspaper. The Boniva ad, a black and white spot featuring the tagline “Boniva is the one!” appeared on page A11 of the newspaper. The ad invites consumers to opt-in to receive the “1st Month Free” by calling a toll-free number. The color ad for Actonel appeared on page A24. That spot features a photograph of an early middle-aged woman overlapped by a checklist of potential osteoporosis trouble spots. “What about that new osteoporosis medicine Boniva?” the Actonel ad text asks, “Boniva is not proven to prevent fractures beyond the spine.” Last week, P&G and Sanofi-Aventis charged in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court that consumer ads for Boniva falsely claim the drug has been proven to be more effective than Actonel. “The reason we felt it was very critical to file the lawsuit is that we believe that Boniva’s ads are very misleading,” P&G spokeswoman S.J. Middleton told MM&M. “The difference between once-a-month Boniva and Actonel . . . is that Actonel has proven fracture reductions on the spine as well as non-vertebral sites. Boniva only has the indication for spine. In their ads they are implying that they are the same as the other bisphosonates, we feel that consumers are being mislead.” “I cannot speak anything about Boniva’s ads appearing beside ours,” Middleton added. Spokespersons for Roche and GSK were not immediately available for comment regarding the newspaper ad placement. Both Roche and GSK have maintained in published reports that ads for Boniva accurately reflect clinical findings.
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