Prescription Commercial Propaganda

News Update (4/26/16): Biogen has announced that it will be taking down their Tecfidera Commercial. For full story, click here.

movies-at-home(Originally Posted 3/13/16) You’re sitting there, the kids are in bed, and the housework is finally done. You’re relaxing on your sofa enjoying a late night snack, while watching an episode of your favorite TV show. You are just about to find out whodunnit; your adrenaline is pumping and your eyes are glued to the screen. Then it happens.

A station break.

This one in particular happens to be about a medication that is offered to people living with Multiple Sclerosis. The commercial says the medication is made to cut relapses in half, while it shows a video of a woman that apparently has Multiple Sclerosis; smiling, hiking, swimming and even enjoying an evening at an amusement park. It all looks so wonderful, carefree, and happy! How fabulous it all seems to be.

Excuse me for saying so, but what a load of manure!

I’m not saying that the medication is bad. I’m not saying anything bad about any of the medications that have been made to treat the symptoms caused by Multiple Sclerosis. At least they are trying to find a cure.

My issue is that the person in the video is portrayed as a happy-go-lucky woman that is living with MS, and able to perform normal activities just like healthy people are easily able to do.

It’s nowhere near the truth for most people with MS in the real world! I think it’s disrespectful to people that live with Multiple Sclerosis, because it misleads the public into believing that something like this can magically happen for everyone living with the disease.

We wish that was truly the case!

While some people are able to have some benefits by taking some of these medications (MS medications in general, not one specific brand), not everyone responds to them as well as these ads claim. In fact, a lot of people don’t have many benefits from them at all, if any.

If you are someone that doesn’t live with MS (or any other type of chronic illness or disease), after seeing a commercial like this you would think that it was great that there’s a medication for people living with the condition, right? Have you ever actually listened to the commercial though? If not, you should. The next time you see that commercial (or any commercial advertising medications), listen to it very carefully (Or you can just watch the YouTube video I found for one of the commercial’s posted above).

The truth is, if pharmaceutical companies were to take a video of actual people living with Multiple Sclerosis (Lupus, Fibromyalgia and so many more disabling illnesses), you would see many of us using mobility and other assistive devices. You would see people that are fighting every day just to try to have a semblance of a normal life. You would see us saving our energy just so we could go someplace, like an amusement park… or maybe just the supermarket.

All of this while we are dutifully taking our medications.

But that wouldn’t make for a very good commercial, now would it?


Symptom of "Flushing"
Flushing symptom – A common side effect of the medication, Tecfidera.




2 thoughts on “Prescription Commercial Propaganda

  1. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in October 2007, I was immediately put into the care of one of the best neurologist in our town. I had recently had my daughter in July of 2006 and not lost all my baby weight. I was 180lbs. After immediately starting a daily regimen of 30 pills a day, some 3 times daily, some twice a daily, the weekly injections and monthly infusions I found myself at 94 lbs and more fatigued and non functioning than what I was when I found out I was sick to begin with. The idea was to “get a jump on this thing to get me into remission!” Well after it was to the point of my sister practically raising my 3 children, my mother crying every time she saw me because I was so frail looking, I decided to go to my well known and beloved doctor and tell her I was done and cold turkey I was done (they were about to put a feeding tube in me by the way and still not wanting to back off medications), so without her support and agreement to at least let me try, I was fired as a patient. Within a month and half I was 120 lbs and jumping on a trampoline with my daughter holding her hand and laughing while both of my boys looked on with smiles as they had not seen their mother get up off the couch six months after the medicine journey began.

    I stayed in remission from 2009 with a very few flare up until 2013 when my mother became very ill. I am in Relapse now and it’s very difficult, but I chose my medicine. I do not depend on anything more than what I need and I fight through more by using what I can of my facilities than medicating them. It’s hard. I know the derailed freight train feeling and can’t get move or feeling as if you are going to crumble, or the burning gnawing pain in your shoulders that make you want to die, or the numbness in your legs that you feel like you won’t get back and your dragging them praying you don’t pee yourself to get to the bathroom and praying and asking God why? I quit asking God, accepted it and decided to fight the best I could, but with smarts about medication.
    Always read the side affects. “May cause a brain infection than result in death.” That one kept me away from Tecfidera

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I don’t really watch TV, so I could be mistaken, but I don’t think we show commercials like this in Australia! We have advertisements for cold/flu medications, and things like that, but I’ve never seen an advertisement for a medication to treat something as serious as MS.

    I’m extremely happy for anyone with MS that has the health to swim and hike and go to late night concerts, while smiling and looking pain and fatigue free. But I seriously doubt that is the case for the majority of MS sufferers, no matter what medication/s they are taking. That was a seriously misleading advertisement, and completely trivialises what a debilitating illness MS (just take this pill, and you can be happy and healthy and do all these things! Unless, of course, our pill causes a rare but serious brain infection, and you die…)

    Gah. How are ads like that even ALLOWED?!

    Liked by 1 person

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