Health Inc.

AdBusters: Consumer Reports vs. Sally Field

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Consumer Reports health editor Jamie Hirsch says she "really, really likes" actor Sally Field, but doesn't like Field's ad for a bone-building drug. /consumerreports.org hide caption

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It's one thing to critique a TV drug ad in print, but how much sexier to jump into the ad and challenge a celebrity endorsement line by line? Consumer Reports is doing just that with its three-minute video commentaries called CR AdWatch.

CR's most recent ad-busting video takes on Boniva, the bone-building drug (a bisphosphonate)from Roche that only has to be swallowed once a month. Appearing onscreen, alongside a smiling Sally Field, Consumer Reports' equally smiley video critic Jamie Hirsch questions whether the convenience is worth the expense.

Hirsch notes that Boniva costs $100 a month—ten times the cost of a generic bisphosphonate that's just as effective, but has to be taken more often. Hirsch also slams the ad for airing its quick recitation of nasty, though rare, side effects (a rotting jaw bone and eye inflammation) against a backdrop of a laughing Sally Field playing Twister.

Of course, critics have their limits, too. The whole class of drugs can trigger severe heartburn and even ulcers if not taken properly, and running that risk once a month instead of once a week may be worth it for some patients—a benefit CR never mentions.

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