Merck and Schering-Plough have temporarily pulled the plug on their popular ad campaign for Vytorin just days after releasing news that the cholesterol-treatment didn’t reduce arterial plaque in a recent clinical trial. Trial results showed that the billion-dollar drug worked no better than Zocor, a cheaper drug found in Vytorin, the Associated Press reports.
Vytorin, however, was never approved as a plaque reducer. The drug is used to lower LDL cholesterol, thereby decreasing the risk of congenital heart failure. The clinical trial was performed to determine whether the drug could also be used to lower fatty plaque in veins and arteries, but the results weren’t positive.
A spokesperson for the drug companies stated that the ads were stopped “in light of mischaracterization and misinterpretation of the ENHANCE trial results.” Print advertisements will not be discontinued.
The “food and family” campaign for Vytorin is regarded as one of the best DTC campaigns, garnering numerous awards and recognitions over the last two years. The ads pair food items and family members that kind of resemble each other. The ads simply state that there are two sources for cholesterolâ€”food and family. The ads are the perfect illustration for the slogan.
“We found that ‘food and family’ was a very easy catchphrase for people to remember,” said Tamara Neufeld, DDB management supervisor, in an interview with Pharm Exec last year. “And when we looked at pictures, we started to see this great resemblance: ‘Whoa. He kind of looks like a ham. And this person looks like an apple pie.’ It was fun.”