Merck's deceptive new entertainment product campaign pushes drugs like candy on young children

Friday, June 22, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Merck, children, candy

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
BOMBSHELL: China and America already at war: Tianjin explosion carried out by Pentagon space weapon in retaliation for Yuan currency devaluation... Military helicopters now patrolling Beijing
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
Holistic cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez dies suddenly; patients mourn the loss of a compassionate, innovative doctor who helped thousands heal from cancer
(NaturalNews) The same multinational drug company responsible for thrusting the Gardasil vaccine on masses of young boys and girls is now targeting children with a deceptive new advertising campaign that likens allergy medication to candy.

Adweek and others are reporting that Merck & Co. has leeched itself onto a promotional campaign for the upcoming Dreamworks film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, a move that has prompted the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) and several other advocacy groups to file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Packaging for Claritin allergy medication apparently now features characters from the Madagascar 3 movie emblazoned right on the label. The labels also entice children with offers of free stickers, downloadable Madagascar 3 interactive games, popcorn containers, and other knick-knacks.

Merck has also created interactive Facebook ads featuring bright displays of cartoon animals alongside boxes of Claritin, which also clearly target children. Merck is also pitching free movie passes for Madagascar 3 as an incentive to purchase Claritin.

Such ads are interspersed with unrelated ads for fruit-flavored candies and gummy snacks, according to reports, a marketing tactic that deliberately confuses children into thinking Claritin is a sweet treat rather than a drug.

"Marketing materials designed to appeal to children, like those used in Merck's Madagascar 3 campaign for its Children's Claritin products, violate the (FTC) commission's longstanding precedent in this area and are inherently unfair and deceptive," says the PHAI complaint.

Merck instructs mothers to hold Madagascar 3 viewing parties, hand out drug samples to children

But the situation gets worse. According to Adweek, Merck is also rallying mothers to hold Madagascar 3 viewing parties as part of an interactive social marketing campaign. Attendees will receive free samples of Claritin and other Merck products from the "Children's Claritin Mom Crew."

"Photographs posted on Mom Crew member blogs show tables with children's food and product samples of Children's Claritin Grape-Flavored Chewable tablets, party favors that mixed toys, stickers and other favors with Children's Claritin samples, and children holding Claritin product samples," adds the complaint.

Mark Gottlieb, executive director of (PHAI) at Northeastern University's School of Law in Boston, added in a comment that marketing medicine to children in this way, through "entertainment tie-ins," is "well beyond the pale and is not only inherently unfair, it is downright dangerous."

Merck was the first to initiate direct-to-consumer drug marketing for adults, and now for children

When Merck decided to launch the first direct-to-consumer print ad for a drug back in 1981, many Americans were outraged that a drug company had the audacity to market drugs directly to consumers. Interestingly, Merck has now done the same thing today by being the first to directly market drugs to children.

This is hardly surprising, since Merck is also responsible for aggressively peddling the useless and highly dangerous Gardasil vaccine, which to date has injured thousands of children and killed more than 100 others ( A conscience-less company like Merck, in other words, obviously has no scruples about getting children hooked on allergy medicines as if they were fruit snacks.

Gottlieb's group, as well as several other groups including Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and The Public Good Law Center have all signed onto the PHAI letter, which urges the FTC to nip this atrocious threat to children in the bud, and put Merck in its place by restricting such advertising.

"Before this trade practice becomes widespread, the FTC must send a clear message that child-directed marketing of OTC drugs is unfair and deceptive and violates longstanding FTC precedent," says the complaint.

Sources for this article include:

Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
Merck at
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.