FDA Slaps Birth Control Giant Over Deceptive Ads

Bayer ordered to air clarifying spots for Yaz
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 9:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Bayer Pharmaceuticals has just launched a $20 million ad campaign for Yaz, the country's most widely used birth control pill. But the ads aren't promoting the drug; rather, they're clarifying earlier commercials that seemed to say Yaz prevented acne and mood swings. As the New York Times reports, the FDA and 27 states hit the German drugmaker with an unusual demand to clear up what it called misleading advertising.

"These ads should never have been out there," one women's advocate said of the original spots, which featured balloons reading "Headaches" and "Irritability" floating off into the stratosphere. While the FDA sometimes sends letters recommending actions, it took the rare step of requiring the second spots because of Yaz's popularity—18% of the market, with particular concentration among women under 30.