5 Celebs Who Promote Prescription Medications

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5 Celebs Who Advertise Drugs

Antonio Banderas
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Up until the 1990s, drug manufacturers advertised prescription medications only to the physicians prescribing them. However, with the baby boomer generation aging and more patients taking part in medical-decision making, drug advertising has changed. Pharmaceutical companies now advertise drugs directly to consumers.

According to physicians, the influence of advertising drugs directly to consumers has been mixed. Many physicians opine that drug advertisements seen by patients invited better conversations about treatment and increased awareness. Other physicians cite that all advertisements for prescription drugs aren't created equal with some ads doing a bad job of presenting benefits and risks of medication. Furthermore, a minority of physicians claim that patients who viewed advertisements for drugs subsequently pressured them during prescription.

As with any type of advertisement, it helps to have a celebrity tout a product or service. Here are five celebs who help sell medication.

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Cedric the Entertainer and Pfizer

Cedric the Entertainer
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Cedric Antonio Kyles, better known by his stage name Cedric the Entertainer, rose to prominence as Steve Harvey's friend on The Steve Harvey Show. Additionally along with Harvey, DL Hughley and Bernie Mac (R.I.P.), Cedric was one of four "Original Kings of Comedy."

Today, Cedric is a celebrity spokesman with Pfizer and the American Diabetes Association and hosts a new education program titled "Step On Up," which encourages people with diabetic nerve pain (neuropathy) to speak with their physicians about symptoms and treatment. (Thus, Cedric is circuitously endorsing diabetes medications.)

Pfizer is one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world and well known for diabetes innovation. Currently, Pfizer and Merck are developing a new drug for type 2 diabetes called  ertugliflozin.

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Antonio Banderas and Nasonex

Antonio Banderas
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 In the 1990s, Spanish star Antonio Banderas burned up screens in Desperado, The Mask of Zorro and The Mambo Kings. More recently, Banderas voiced the CGI bee in Nasonex commercials.

Nasonex is a nasal corticosteroid spray used to treat seasonal allergies. Nasonex helps alleviate symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing, stuffy nose and watery eyes. It is also used to treat nasal polyps.

Somewhat ironically, some people are allergic to bees, and Banderas played a bee extolling allergy medication.

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Marcia Cross and Imitrex

Marcia Cross
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"Desperate Housewife" Marcia Cross suffers from migraines and promotes the migraine medication Imitrex made by GlaxoSmithKline.

Imitrex (sumatriptan) belongs to the triptan class of drugs. This medication not only alleviates the pain of migraine headaches but also decreases the nausea and vomiting accompanying them. (Apparently, other drugs used to treat migraine make nausea and vomiting worse.)

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Sally Field and Boniva

Sally Field
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Oscar- and Emmy-award winning actress Sally Field, who has played Mrs. Gump and Mrs. Lincoln, has osteoporosis and plugs Boniva made by Genentech.

Boniva (ibandronate) is a drug used to treat osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones weak and brittle. Osteoporosis usually affects postmenopausal women (although men can have the disease as well). 

Boniva works by persuading osteclasts or cells that break down bone to undergo apoptosis and die. This drug is effective, and in clinical trials, when taken once monthly, Boniva lowered the number of fractures experienced among study participants by 62 percent.

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Bob Dole and Viagra

Bob Dole
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As a forefather of prescription advertising, former presidential candidate and war hero Bob Dole endorsed Viagra.

Of note, Dole had prostate surgery after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Without treatment, such surgery can interfere with a man's ability to have an erection.  For more on how "Prostate Cancer Won't Stop Great Sex" click here.

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5 Celebs Who Advertise Drugs

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All the advertisements discussed here seem to be in good taste and are believable. Nevertheless, the FDA tries to make sure that all ads for prescription drugs are accurate.

"Much of our compliance and enforcement activity is spent trying to ensure that companies don't low-ball risks in the ad and provide inflated expectations of benefit," writes Dr. Janet Woodcock of the FDA.

Updated by Naveed Saleh on 1/30/2015.

Sources

Hoffman BL, Schorge JO, Schaffer JI, Halvorson LM, Bradshaw KD, Cunningham F, Calver LE. Chapter 22. The Mature Woman. In: Hoffman BL, Schorge JO, Schaffer JI, Halvorson LM, Bradshaw KD, Cunningham F, Calver LE. eds. Williams Gynecology, 2e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012.

Sanders-Bush E, Hazelwood L. Chapter 13. 5-Hydroxytryptamine (Serotonin) and Dopamine. In: Brunton LL, Chabner BA, Knollmann BC. eds. Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 12e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.

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