Heart Association Slammed for Bayer Promotion

  • Heart Association Slammed for Bayer Promotion (c) BayerHeart Association Slammed for Bayer Promotion (c) Bayer

German drugs and agrochemicals giant Bayer has encountered a new backlash in the US, albeit on a minuscule scale compared to the ongoing challenges over whether Roundup causes cancer or dicamba drift is harming fruit farmers.

At the urging of health care providers, the American Heart Association (AHA) has had to end what looked like a endorsement of Bayer’s low dose Aspirin in displays at about a quarter of Walmart stores across the country.

The exhibits featured 1-meter tall cartons filled with boxes of tablets and bearing the Bayer and AHA logos withbthe message “Approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack” appeared to suggest that taking Aspirin could prevent heart disease, critics said.

In removing the displays at the end of February, when the campaign expired, The AHA called its support for the advertising “a misstep” and a “human error.” Although Aspirin can help people with previous heart attacks or strokes, it noted that the risks generally outweigh the benefits for others, especially those over 70.

Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the AHA, said the displays, also widely criticized by other medical professionals, could have given people the wrong impression and led to more liberal use of baby aspirin.

Bayer is a financial supporter of the heart association’s campaign “Life Is Why We Give,” but critics of the campaign pointed out that in 2019, after three new studies were published on the issue, the AHA joined other medical groups advising against Aspirin therapy unless a doctor recommends it.

The warning was printed on Bayer’s Aspirin packaging, but not was not on the displays, press reports said. A Bayer spokesman in the US said the demonstration of support for the AHA’s heart health initiatives should not be construed as medical advice and was merely intended to help the association raise awareness of a major public health issue.

In all, the heart association received about $33 million from drug companies, medical device makers, insurers and health firms, including $ 1 million from Bayer in the last fiscal year, the trade journal Fierce Pharma said, quoting the association’s records.

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