As you probably know by now, the Video Music Awards took place on MTV last night. And while host and noted weed enthusiast Miley Cyrus' outfits served up some Hobby Lobby-acid-trip realness, Kim Kardashian spent her time at the event repping a different kind of drug. Again.
That’s right. While the whole world was distracted by the youthful antics of our pop stars, the future First Lady reposted on Instagram a selfie of herself holding a bottle of Diclegis, a prescription medication for morning sickness—this time with a huge risk disclaimer.
In case you were wondering why Kim was quoting the FDA instead of discussing whether the Miley/Nicki tiff was real, here's the backstory. On July 19, the pregnant Kardashian took to Instagram to announce her partnership with Duchesnay Inc., the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Diclegis. The post has since been removed, but here's an archived version:
As you can see, the original caption included an uplifting anecdote describing how after taking the drug, her debilitating morning sickness eased up and she “felt a lot better.” She also noted that "…it’s been studied and there was no increased risk to the baby.” Sounds like a miracle drug for those suffering from morning sickness! What could possibly go wrong?
The social media post is false or misleading in that it presents efficacy claims for DICLEGIS, but fails to communicate any risk information associated with its use and it omits material facts… These violations are concerning from a public health perspective because they suggest that DICLEGIS is safer than has been demonstrated.
(For the record, Diclegis is an FDA-approved drug that, as a Pregnancy Category A medication, has the highest safety rating possible.)
The FDA letter then asked that Kim repost a corrective ad, preferably one that summarized what was wrong with her last Diclegis post, and set the record straight, free of promotional claims and presentations (setting aside the fact that its mere presence on Kim’s Instagram is about the biggest promotion a company can get).
And so, while everyone's attention was diverted, Kim reposted the same selfie, this time with a 300-word caption that identified the risks and limitations of the drug—basically a written version of the fast-paced disclaimer that comes at the end of all prescription drug commercials—with the hashtag #CorrectiveAd.
While the language is clearly there to legally appease the FDA, seeing it on Kim’s Instagram is still, well, weird:
Do not take Diclegis if you are allergic to doxylamine succinate, other ethanolamine derivative antihistamines, pyridoxine hydrochloride or any of the ingredients in Diclegis. You should also not take Diclegis in combination with medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as these medicines can intensify and prolong the adverse CNS effects of Diclegis.
Yuck, look at all those big-ass chemistry words! Will Kim also be available for follow up questions about the perils of doxylamine succinate, a sedative ingredient used in products like NyQuil?
The post essentially shatters our already fragile fantasy of Instagram celeb endorsements. It forces us to confront the idea that Kim is not simply sharing the products she loves with the people she loves out of the kindness of her heart, but shilling pills for cash.
The moment Kim spills the goods on pyridoxine hydrochloride is the moment we’re forced to realize that companies are indeed paying for pixels of space on an extremely popular Instagram feed that sometimes features the future president. And sometimes there are repercussions to misleading potential consumers while doing so. But you do have to give Kim props for the timing.