In May, 2015, FDA’s OPDP sent an Notice of Violation letter to Actavis regarding the “Unsubstantiated Claim” on the Rapaflo webpage, which stated “BPH SYMPTOM RELIEF THAT WORKS NIGHTS SO HE CAN WORK DAYS.”
Since then, Actavis adopted a walnut look-alike prostate gland mascot. That’s him in the accompanying image.
I call him “Wally” because he looks just like a walnut, which I suspect was the model the computer graphic artist used to create Wally. It even includes a little walnut-like point at the top of his head, which may not be medically accurate.
The original Rapaflo website, which the FDA criticized, showed a man walking to the bathroom from his bed in the middle of the night. Now the site features a guy at a urinal confronted by Wally standing on the urinal divider. Although Wally is not looking down at the guy’s junk, he is all in the guy’s face, saying “These frequent disruptions are frustrating. I’m your prostate – I know urinary issues when I see them!”
If I were that guy I would say, “Yeah? Well, you’re not my prostate! I know walnuts when I see them! Get lost!” I mean, who wants to talk to a Debbie Downer walnut while urinating in a public urinal?
There seems to be a proliferation of drug mascots these days reminiscent of ten years ago or so when drug TV and print ads were full of them (read “DTC Critters to Strike – Cite New Media Residuals as Issue,” for example). I know of at least one other mascot associated with urinary function.
I’m thinking of the Astellas’s Myrbetriq urinary bladder mascot shown here. You can find out how this mascot helps promote Myrbetriq for overactive bladder by listening to this podcast: “Pharma Brand Ads Within Mobile Apps.”
Meanwhile, Wally is a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to men’s urinary issues and to date the FDA has not questioned any claims he has made. The new Rapaflo slogan is “Take control of your go.” More specifically, says Wally, “We can take control with Rapaflo®.”
BTW, FDA’s issue with the original Rapaflo website was that the claim “works nights so he can work days,” along with the picture of the man walking to the bathroom from his bed in the middle of the night, is “misleading because the presentation implies that in addition to improving BPH symptoms, Rapaflo has also been shown to improve both sleep disturbance (i.e., quality of sleep) and work productivity. No references were cited in support of this implication.”