Every time a commercial for Lyrica comes on I cringe, and then I quickly change the channel. I have not seen a single commercial to which I could actually relate to the actor trying to pass themselves off as a Fibromyalgia patient and sufferer. They irritate me to no end, and yes I have considered that it is possibly because I choose to be drug free, and I have made no secret about my disdain for drug companies, but mostly I think it is because the actors and the commercials are not true representations of a person living with Fibromyalgia.
Take the latest ad for example:
Lady walking out onto her porch with a beautiful tray of food says: “My fibromyalgia muscle pain is real, but I’m not the type of person to just lie down and quit.”
Lady takes the tray to a table of family members, continues speech: “Not with all these people counting on me. I walked right in and asked my doctor about Lyrica.”
Really? Is Fibromyalgia really just so neat and tidy as all that? Really? Is Fibromyalgia really just about the muscle pain and if you take a pill it will really all just go away? Really? And if I don’t walk right in and ask my doctor about Lyrica, am I then the kind of person who does just lie down and quit? Am I not taking care of the people counting on me if I am not taking Lyrica? Will my tray of food not be as lovely as yours if I am not taking Lyrica?
If I had the video of the commercial to share with you I could go on and on with my “really” rant. There is a dog, and a tree swing, and a beautiful stone walkway, and a picnic table with a picture perfect family. The grass is green, the sun is shining, and it is all made possible with Lyrica! Blech! If you would like to watch the commercial you can watch it here.
So today I am reading the Fibromyalgia Network Newsletter and I read this:
Pfizer’s Fibro Put Down
Even if Lyrica has not been helpful for controlling your symptoms, the many widely publicized TV commercials sponsored by the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, have certainly improved awareness of your medical condition. Some advertisements have been better than others, but some Members feel the latest TV ad starts off as a put down to fibromyalgia (FM) patients everywhere. It shows a woman with a tray full of food at a family gathering making the following statements:
“My fibromyalgia muscle pain is real. But I am not the type of person to just lie down and quit, not with all these people counting on me. I walked right in and asked my doctor about Lyrica.”
It’s doubtful that Pfizer intended to imply that “other” fibromyalgia patients are the type who just “lie down and quit,” but this is how the commercial is being perceived, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. The 2008 Fibromyalgia Network survey on employment issues clearly showed that patients are doing everything possible to hang onto their jobs and careers. You are definitely all fighters and you don’t take anything laying down!
As a survivor, let Pfizer know a few key factors about living with fibromyalgia that you would like their next commercial to portray. The company has a website that invites FM patients to share their stories. Click on this link to the Lyrica website and identify yourself as a fibromyalgia patient representative and consumer, and then briefly point out what you would like for them to convey in their next commercial (in other words, state how you would like a person with fibromyalgia to appear). Are there certain strengths that you would like the patient in the commercial to portray? Also, are there specific symptoms of fibromyalgia that you would like to see emphasized? Please give this some thought and take the time to offer useful advice and constructive suggestions. Without your input, Pfizer could very well botch another commercial!
I think this is a fair idea. I just spent the last 30 minutes telling you all what I hate about their commercials. Now I should be more proactive and tell Pfizer how they can be less offensive! Whether I want them to be or not, they are the face of Fibromyalgia on our television sets. But it is clear the people writing their ad copy do not have Fibromyalgia or even a great understanding of it. I am going to have to give it some thought as to how I would want Fibromyalgia represented and marketed. It has to make sense to both me and Pfizer. The bottom line is this really is about Pfizer’s bottom line. Fibromyalgia is profitable for them and it is doubtful they will consider any suggestion that could negatively effect their profits – regardless of their totally offensive commercials.
Hooray for those of you who are feeling better since taking Lyrica! But I really would like to know, do you think these commercials are a fair representation of your life since being on Lyrica? If so I am sooo happy for you. If not what would you say to Pfizer that could help them portray your life with Fibromyalgia more accurately?