Allergy medication maker takes heat for marketing approach
The makers of Claritin are coming under fire for marketing their products using the popular cartoon characters from Madagascar 3. That’s troubling to some parents who say the friendly faces may cause their kids to confuse the medication with candy.
“They would think that it was candy or that something in here would have some sort of a prize or something, which would make them want to get into this box more,” concerned parent Kristina Fisher said.
Public health advocates accuse Merck, Claritin’s parent company, of improperly marketing the drug directly to children. Dr. Steve Perry of Cherry Creek Pediatrics said it could be dangerous.
“Companies go above and beyond trying to make [medicine] pleasurable and easy to take,” Perry said. “But we want parents to know that they’re still medicines. They should still be prescribed in the right dose and they should not be accessible to kids at all.”
Claritin reaches further with its Madagascar ties by advertising on its Facebook page for kids activity guide downloads. The grape flavored chewables are candy-like and Fisher said she’s extra careful to teach her kids the difference between medicines and treats.
“This is what medicine looks like and we don’t eat the medicine. And you want to say, these are fruit snacks and these are safe to eat. You don’t want to confuse the two,” she said.
A spokesperson for Merck said the company is reviewing the matter, but insists the product is advertised appropriately to parents, not children.