Khloe Kardashian sparks backlash for ‘unethical’ promotion of expensive ‘Big Pharma’ drugs

Isobel van Hagen
Monday 16 November 2020 09:00
Celebrities
(Rex Features)

Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian may have gone too far, people on social media said, after she became an influencer for "Big Pharma".

Last week, Kardashian tweeted about a sponsored deal with the pharmaceutical company Biohaven for their newly-launched migraine medication NurtecODT, saying that she “dared to reimagine life with #migraine". She encouraged fans to ask their doctors about the drug and visit the company’s website.

Even with the cognitive dissonance of people posting "You look great Koko!", the post came as a shock to most. Even though the Kardashians often post ‘sponcon”, people were concerned the partnership was “ethically questionable” at best, calling it "gross" and "disturbing, to say the least".

“Celebrity endorsement of drugs is a far-cry from the assumed wheelhouse of an ‘influencer’,” one Twitter user wrote.

“This is so wrong,” another wrote, questioning whether a high-profile celebrity with 26 million followers should be touting medication.

Some also noted the medication is extortionately expensive, costing between $897 and over $1,000 for a package of eight doses without insurance (according to a 2018 census, 27.5 million Americans do not have health insurance).

Others trolled the company and Kardashian using the hashtag: "Is #NurtecODT a bronzer?" one person joked.

"Celebrity sponsored drugs is a big no from me," another wrote, using the promoted hashtag.

This is definitely not the first time the Kardashian clan have dealt with criticism for sponsored social media ads.

Khloe has faced controversy before for promoting Flat Tummy Tea for weight loss (which has been called dangerous for your health).

In 2015, Kim Kardashian was told by the Federal Drug Administration to re-post an advertisement about a morning sickness pill with the drug’s side effects.

Most of all, this type of advertising seems to show how ineffective, expensive and exploitative the private American healthcare system is.

As @chlomill_ put it: “a promoted ad for migraine medication featuring Khloe Kardashian appearing on my tl at 3 am is the best explanation of the American healthcare system I can possibly give.”

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