We hope that everyone had a safe and sober Super Bowl Sunday; it can be a difficult day for many in recovery who have memories of drinking and watching the game with friends and family. Not everyone who watches the Super Bowl has an interest in American football, a number of people actually care more about the television advertisements aired throughout the game. It could easily be argued that the best commercials shown all year are first seen on Super Bowl Sunday, but this year one ad caught the attention of government officials.
On Sunday, you may have seen a commercial for a drug that treats opioid-induced constipation, which a top White House official believes the ad may actually contribute to the American opioid epidemic, USA Today reports. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough criticized AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, the two pharmaceutical companies who market a drug called Movantik.
“Next year, how about fewer ads that fuel opioid addiction and more on access to treatment,” said McDonough.
Earlier in the week, the Obama Administration announced that they would ask Congress for $1.1 billion to increase access to substance use disorder treatment facilities, according to the article. The prescription opioid and heroin crisis in America has been out of hand for a long time, a problem whose origin can be linked to the over prescribing of painkillers. As both lawmakers and addiction experts fight to get the problem under control, it would be helpful if the pharmaceutical industry would get on board.
“Now you have these ads coming out normalizing long-term use of opioids for a chronic pain problem,” said Kolodny, a senior scientist at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. “There’s no question that their ads make this very dangerous and questionable medical practice seem normal.”
The two pharmaceutical companies claim that the ad was intended to raise awareness about a condition that affects millions of Americans, the article reports. Dave Fredrickson, AstraZeneca’s vice president of specialty care said that talking and informing people about the condition may lead to more discussion about opioid addiction.