Women’s Health Groups Raise Concerns over Eli Lilly’s Marketing of Evista

The concern is not new but now certain advocacy groups’ ire is focused on Eli Lilly’s Evista slick marketing campaign. The campaign touts Eli Lilly’s osteoporosis drug Evista and portrays post-menopausal women in togas. “You’re past menopause and are treating osteoporosis,” the narrator says. “Why not ask your doctor about Evista, the only medicine that treats osteoporosis and reduces your risk of invasive breast cancer?”
Yet, in truth, Evista carries a black box warning from the FDA. In a clinical trial involving 10,000 patients, Evista was shown to actually increase the risk of death after a stroke by 49%.
Two years ago, the FDA fined Eli Lilly because the pharmaceutical company began promoting Evista as a breast cancer drug prior to FDA approval. In addition, Evista’s benefit in treating breast cancer has been spurious.
This latest attempt by Lilly to market a product in order to grow sales rather than concern itself with consumer safety shows the real problem we face with direct to consumer marketing campaigns. These ads play on emotion rather than science and their end goal is to grow sales rather than promote a health benefit.