We’re all too familiar with the semi-creepy ad algorithm that Facebook and Instagram use to somehow read our minds and shoot ads at us accordingly, so it didn’t surprise me when this morning I got an ad for a “performance anxiety” pill that you could order over the internet on both Instagram and Facebook. Given I’m a girl who, just a year ago, used to google “how to get rid of a panic attack” multiple times a day, it only made sense that I was a prime target for their campaign. What didn’t make sense was the fact that the company, Hers, was called out last week for this very ad and promised to remove it.
If you didn’t hear, the brand hers – which caught a lot of praise for making birth control accessible and available over the internet, and sister company to hims – ran an ad about what seemed to be a harmless fix to anxiety. They advertised Propranolol as a way to “help control the physical symptoms of performance anxiety”, and assured consumers that they didn’t need an in-person doctor visit to receive the prescription-only drug right to their door. Not only is this beta-blocker extremely dangerous with numerous side effects (fainting, heart problems, etc), it’s not even FDA approved as an anxiety fix. Yes, an online doctor would be prescribing an Rx-only med to someone for off-label use. Read the original ad and the apology below.
It seems as though they just simply made tweaks to the wording and haven’t completely removed the product or the campaign, as I got the ad below this morning. The overall message that this dangerous drug is being marketed to consumers for unapproved use in an unforthcoming way disguised by aesthetic packaging and a cutesy pickup line is more than questionable. Sadly, it’s not as *effortless* as taking a *harmless* pill, this is a complex drug that you need to be approved for by a doctor that knows your history, vitals, and more than a couple of yes or no answers.
Read more about Propranolol and it’s potentially harmful side effects here.
Cover Photo Via Hers
by Kate Sullivan