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Do You Hate the Lyrica Commercials as Much as I Do?

2009 May 1

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?

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15 Responses leave one →
  1. May 1, 2009

    You go girl! I totally agree with you. They make those commercials sugar coated so it looks good and could you imagine IF they really made a commercial that was REAL? Like a migrane commercial with someone thats in bed, in pain. THAT I could get. That would relate more to me. Rather than some lady dressed up, out somewhere waiting to have a great night. Yeah, right! Well, let’s see…. since I took my Lyrica, I have the rest of the night! WOW! And you know, to be fair as with all meds, maybe they do work for some people and if they do, that is GREAT. I know what you mean and where you are coming from when you portray that it is ignorant to make such a commercial. I get it. It’s frustrating. So, maybe we should contact Pfizer. Great blog. When you are weak and tired to blog, think of me and remember how much I enjoy reading it. :)

  2. May 1, 2009

    I took Lyrica for about a month and I became a virtual walking zombie. While I was taking it I had occasion to visit a friend overnight and after I took my pill in the morning about 10 AM she had to wake me for lunch at around 1 PM. It was the pill, not the fibro. Sure, I get tired from the fibro, but not like that. I only take Lexapro now, and that is only because it actually helps with any anxiety I might have. The ear ringing, muscle spasms and pain are all still here, and so am I. Pfizer has no clue. That drug never alleviated any of my pain. It just put me in more of a fog than usual.

  3. Monyka permalink
    May 1, 2009

    I’ve seen that commercial actually. It’s so SO cheesy.

    But you are too funny Auntie! I like how you flow words and sentences together, it makes it pleasurable to read and easy too.

  4. May 1, 2009

    Medicine commercials are always cheesy and always misrepresentative… I’ve actually worked in that side of the business and sometimes they downright lie to people. That’s just how it is. Not that normal ads are honest!

    I’m happy I live in a country where advertising prescription drugs for consumers is illegal. That’s how it should be.

  5. May 2, 2009

    Ya Know, I was prescribed Lyrica a little over 18 months ago and was allergic to it. (I too take nothing for the pain, I am now allergic to narcotic pain pills, but even before I hated being drugged. ) I certainly did not expect it be a miracle cure like they portray it in the commercials. It’s a joke how they write these commercials. Remember “So tender to the touch” and “I need a hug”. What about the sleep disturbance, what about the cognitive dysfunction? I too plan to write Phizer when I get a chance to really think through my suggestions.

  6. Shari permalink
    May 2, 2009

    Yes!!!! I totally agree with you! Every time I see a Lyrica commercial, I say the same thing to my husband. I despise those commercials. The one you wrote about really irks me. But so does the one with the lady who says with a smile that some days her fibromyalgia pain hurts all over. She says it like she is being seductive more so than she is in pain. Those actors have most definitely NEVER had fibro! Thank you for this!!!!!!

  7. May 3, 2009

    I hate that they don’t have young people in the commercials. Why not have real patients get paid to act in the commercials. That is what I think they should do.

  8. Melissa permalink
    May 17, 2009

    I have been seething about those commercials since they started! Specifically, the “not the type to lie down and quit” line. And the rest of us ARE?? It’s just not that simple. My personal story about medications related to my fibro is long and complex; that said, the last thing I need is some cheery endorsed actress insinuating that I’m basically a quitter. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have issues trying to accept my limitations caused by the fibro. As genuine fibro-ites, I don’t think it’s simply a matter of us not wanting to “give in” (for lack of a better phrase). Sometimes I just have to STOP whatever it is I’m doing, used to do, and wish I could still do!
    Wow – sorry if I vented a bit much!
    Anyway, I’m just happy to see I’m not the only one who yells back at the TV when that ad appears.

  9. DOREEN permalink
    June 12, 2009

    What really bothers me is that they are telling the world that the answer is to just take this pill!! I tried lyrica -swelling , weight gain and hives- and it didn’t help my pain much at all.

    I worry that people think that I should just take this lyrica and shut up already. I don’t “lie down and quit” either- but they make fibro sound like its as easy as taking an asprin for relief.

    At least someone is trying. We will see more and more attention given to this “disease-condition” in the future. Lyrica ads are phony. Just like any advertisement.

  10. May 2, 2009

    You are so right! Like the depression commercials (for Cymbalta I think). At least the commercials show the struggle of depression and they don’t portray them as having perfect lives once they are on the medication. A little more realistic I think.

    Thanks for the feedback on my blog. It will help inspire me.

  11. May 2, 2009

    Oh the ear ringing! Mine is particularly bad this evening.

    I am like you with meds. I never had any relief, just more symptoms to deal with. Take a look at the Lyrica disclaimer and all of the possible side effects:

    “Tell your doctor about any changes in your eyesight, including blurry vision, muscle pain along with a fever or tired feeling. Some of the most common side effects of LYRICA are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, blurred vision, dry mouth, feeling “high”, swelling of hands and feet, and trouble concentrating.”

    I have most of that already covered thank you very much!

  12. May 2, 2009

    Thanks Monyka! I love your comments and support. I am one lucky Auntie!

  13. May 2, 2009

    I have always thought drug company advertising should be illegal! Big Pharma marketing has been totally detrimental to our nations health care system. They have a hammer lock on it, and my only recourse is to refuse to take any of their products which is clearly just a symbolic jester. It does nothing to their bottom line.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. Very interesting!

  14. May 2, 2009

    Absolutely! What about all the other symptoms? And because they are such a presence in the media it is giving people the wrong ideas about Fibromyalgia. I have actually had people suggest to me that if I would only take “that drug I’ve seen on the T.V.” that I would get better. What a bunch of crap they are promoting!

    Glad you are going to write to them too Tiffany. Thanks!

  15. May 2, 2009

    You are welcome Shari. I thought it may hit a nerve with a few people other than myself. I had never considered it that way, but you are right, it is like she is being seductive. Yuck! Pfizer really needs to rethink their ad campaign! Thanks for your input Shari.

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