Whatever she does—whether it’s posting a selfie that showcases her naked second-trimester bod, appearing naked (again!) in one of her husband’s more questionable videos or just generally breaking the Internet—Kim Kardashian has a particular gift for grabbing attention. Her latest scandal? Running afoul of U.S. drug-promotion rules.
Kardashian posted a glowing endorsement of the morning-sickness drug Diclegis (available in Canada as Diclectin) on Instagram to her 42.6 million(!) followers, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t happy about it. “OMG. Have you heard about this?” she wrote in the post. “As you guys know my #morningsickness has been pretty bad. I tried changing things about my lifestyle, like my diet, but nothing helped, so I talked to my doctor. He prescribed me #Diclegis, I felt a lot better and, most importantly, it’s been studied and there was no increased risk to the baby.”
The post mentions that she partnered with the Quebec-based pharmaceutical company Duchesnay Inc., which markets the drug, to raise awareness about treatment options for morning sickness. The problem? It’s not that Kardashian, who is expecting a brother for North West later this year, was promoting an unsafe medication—Diclegis is approved and prescribed around the world. The FDA is mad that, contrary to its strict rules on drug marketing, Kardashian didn’t mention the drug’s risks and potential side effects. (In Canada, the rules surrounding the promotion of medications are even stricter—Health Canada bans any direct-to-consumer advertising.)
In a warning letter posted online, the FDA said that the post “misbranded” the pills and noted that Duchesnay received similar warnings for a promotional letter it sent to doctors in 2013. The agency is asking the company to remove the social media posts (Kardashian has already complied) and find a way to share proper information about the drug’s risks to Kardashian’s enormous online audience.
The FDA said that any marketing of Diclegis should state that it has never been studied in women with hyperemesis gravidarum, the extreme condition that Kate Middleton endured. Plus, it carries the potential side effect of drowsiness and shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or other meds that may cause sleepiness.
What will Kiki do now? Stay tuned….
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