A series of tweets and retweets are questioning what Johnson & Johnson is up to with its latest Xarelto ad.
“I saw this commercial for the novel anticoagulant Xarelto the other day and it seemed a bit misleading,” tweeted ProPublica Senior Editor Charles Ornstein. The ad featured a Xarelto user, Tiffany, donning a leather jacket and walking around motorcycles. The disclaimer on the bottom of the screen read, “As with any blood thinner, Tiffany had to stop riding her motorcycle while taking Xarelto.”
That’s because if someone taking a blood thinner is in an accident they generally have more serious injuries, need more blood transfusions, have longer hospital and ICU stays, and suffer more complications than those who are not taking anticoagulants.
Ornstein’s tweet continued: “The disclaimer is there for a couple seconds and then the ad shows her surrounded by motorcycles again. I don’t know about you, but this seemed really misleading. And possibly dangerous.”
Many of those who replied or retweeted the post said they had seen the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) send warning letters to drug companies for running similarly misleading ads. Someone even asked why J&J didn’t choose another scenario rather than use one that showed a motorcycle, which Xaraelto users are discouraged from riding.
When asked if Johnson & Johnson would be called out for its ad, an FDA spokeswoman said that the agency “cannot comment on a specific ad, nor communications with a specific company.”
J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals is standing by the ad, saying that it works closely with the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion to ensure that its ads meet the agency’s standards.
J&J’s Janssen, and Bayer, face thousands of lawsuits alleging the company did not adequately warn consumers of the extent of the bleeding risks associated with the drug.