Plaintiffs' law firms have been airing ads highlighting a recent medical study finding a possible link between the erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra and an increased risk for melanoma -- the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
These firms have sponsored over 2,000 ads in the first four months of this year targeting men who took erectile dysfunction drugs and later developed the disease.
The ads follow the publication of a June 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found that sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra which is manufactured by Pfizer, may increase a man's risk for melanoma by as much as 84 percent.
In April, three law firms sponsored 148 ads on this topic for broadcast on national and local networks.
While the ads all mention the study, they vary in how they identify the particular pharmaceutical products.
Some ads -- like one aired by the Akin Mears law firm 29 times on national cable channels in April -- mention Viagra specifically, whereas ads sponsored by other firms cast a wider net in the products they target.
The most widely broadcast ads on this topic were sponsored by the law firm of Davis & Crump and mentioned Eli Lilly’s Cialis and Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline’s Levitra in addition to Viagra. These ads ran exclusively in local media markets.
In contrast, the ad purchased by the Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough firm and run on national broadcast and cable networks does not mention any drugs by name but rather seeks to alert men treated for erectile dysfunction generally.