Takeda’s Rozerem took top honors in a UK consumer advocacy group’s International Bad Product Awards.
London-based Consumers International, which bills itself as a global federation of consumer groups, named the sleeping pill as its worst of the worst on the merits of a 10-second TV reminder ad hawking the drug for school children which ran in September 2006.
The sketchy spot, unrelated to the brand’s surreal main “Your Dreams Miss You” campaign, aired only about four times on MSNBC and was disavowed by Takeda and its advertising agencies after an FDA rebuke. Rozerem is not indicated for pediatric use, the spot was not submitted to FDA for vetting and TV reminder ads are a no-no under PhRMA DTC guidelines. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America is an international affiliate of PhRMA, though the company was not a signatory to those guidelines.
Consumers International said in a release: “This case demonstrates the lengths to which some drug companies will go to increase sales of their products, how direct-to-consumer advertising can promote irrational drug use, and how weak regulation can foster irresponsible corporate behavior.”
Runners-up included Coca-Cola, for Dasani (“Repackaging tap water”), Kellogg’s (“Advertising junk food to kids”) and Mattel, for its handling of a toy recall.