Selling drugs

Indianapolis Star today says: “There were 462 mentions of prescription drugs on TV last year, more than double the number from just two years earlier.” Viagra, Vicodin, Botox, and Prozac are a few popular ones. It’s not clear how many placements are incidental (apparently Tony Soprano’s mentions of Prozac were uncompensated, for instance) and how many are paid brand-builders:

Some pharmaceutical companies have acknowledged paying for TV plugs. In one episode of the NBC situation comedy “Scrubs,” a logo for the contraceptive brand NuvaRing appeared 11 times, mostly on posters placed in the background.

The brand’s maker, Organon Pharmaceuticals USA of Roseland, N.J., told trade magazine Brandweek that it had done placement deals with several television shows, including CBS’ “King of Queens” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

I haven’t seen that Brandweek piece, either I missed it, or it’s in an issue I don’t have yet. But pharma placements seem kinda creepy, no? How can that strategy be permissible? Do they scatter warnings of potential side effects on other background posters?

Via Commercial Alert.