You all complain about drug commercials, and with good reason. They are equal parts cloying and annoying. Let's make fun of them, OK?
Given the choice of three vile TV prescription drug commercials, which would you pick as the worst? It may not be as simple as you think. O-O-O-Ozempic will probably first come to mind since it seems to run 24/7, not to mention that a recent study showed that more televisions started flying out windows in 2018 when this ad appeared.
But take heed. Although Ozempic would seemingly be the overwhelming favorite here, I must regretfully report that it's not the only TV-out-the-window-chucking commercial around. Let's examine the worst three. And it's not just my opinion. More on that later.
Many people think the O-O-O-Ozempic ad is an appalling abomination that cannot be outdone. I took a shot at it in May 2023 after Pfizer announced that it was investigating an orally active GLP-1 agonist that could threaten the market share of injectables, such as Ozempic and Wegovy. It was only fitting that I orchestrated a Pfizer bombing campaign against Joe (below), who was smugly celebrating his entry into the "Tri-Zone," perhaps a bit prematurely.
Uh oh! Joe senses that his time in the Tri-Zone may be short. Image: Wikimedia Commons
- Skyrizi - Nothing is Everything
A good case could be made for Skyrizi, a psoriasis drug ("Nothing is everything!") being the worst. It is not only spew-worthy on its own but was written by the one and only Richard Cheese, a Vegas lounge singer (his cover of Baby Got Back is to die for. Or maybe from). The music ain't great, but the lyrics are right up there with Lennon and McCartney:
Richard Cheese, Skyrizi perpetrator, doing the Vegas lounge thing on an album. Oh, yeah. Dig that groove, cool cats!
Perhaps even more bizarre is this:
OMG. On Cheese's Bandcamp site, you can buy (and send, presumably, to your worst enemy) the Skyrizi jingle! Is there anyone you despise enough to do this to?
(Readers poll: Can you possibly think of a worse gift? I'm going to go with poison ivy eyedrops with kale-flavored Kaopectate as my second entry. By all means, let's see what you've got in the comments section.)
Although not as infamous as the first two candidates, there are two putrid ads for Trelegy – a drug for COPD. This alone makes it a contender. The first was a two-year campaign from 2018-20 (YouTube video). Later, GSK apparently decided that "ABC - 1,2,3" – with Michael Jackson and his brothers dancing up a storm – might be a little overkill for people who can inhale maybe two molecules of oxygen per breath. Or perhaps the commercial really implied that if you take the stuff, you can count 1-2-3 without being intubated. (I won't be covering the newer ad. Sadly, it's not as bad.)
Here's one frame from the commercial (slightly altered).
Your typical American family. Helen comforts her son, Jared (1), telling him that after one puff of Trelegy, she threw away the oxygen tank and is now training for an Iron Man with a Steinway piano strapped to her back. But George (56), having just impregnated his secretary (21), now must accept his relegation to a lower socioeconomic status because of the alimony he was hoping to avoid AND the absence of a life insurance policy that was going buy the Maserati. George is devastated. Jared is disinterested.
But it gets worse...
The same commercial, in what might be considered poor taste, features an old video of Michael Jackson dancing and belting out (obviously an imitator) "1,2,3" but with different lyrics:
Needs to be mentioned: The way they celebrate Trelegy, you'd think GSK discovered the Salk vaccine, penicillin, or another important milestone in medical history. Wrong! Very.
GSK's Trelegy, which treats asthma and COPD, combines two older drugs, Breo for asthma and Incruise for COPD. They put them into a single inhaler. How devilishly clever! This Nobel-worthy discovery will allow people to inhale schmutz once daily instead of the onerous two previously required schmutz inhalations.
Wish I'd thought of that. It's as easy as 1,2,3.
And the winner is...
Fortunately, a recent Reddit poll answers just that.
1st prize - Ozempic walks away with first place in the "Most Vomit-Worthy" TV ad contest. Those TVs ain't flying out of windows as a TikTok challenge.
2nd prize - Skyrizi, despite making an admirable run down the stretch, could not overcome Ozempic's Triple Crown-worthy performance. Sorry, Richard Cheese. Back to the cutting board. Skyrizi's failure proves that "nothing is, indeed, everything."
3rd prize - Trelegy and some lesser-known annoyances fought it out at the back of the pack. Although the Rybelsus ad technically garnered 7 more votes than that of Trelegy, it was disqualified for failing to result in a single TV flying out of a window, the standard of care in a randomized controlled clinical trial of this sort.
I'd like to stick around and annoy all of you a bit more, but PC Richard's is having a great sale on televisions! Mine, uh, broke.
(1) Jared = anyone born after 2010