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The FDA slams Kim Kardashian for promoting prescription drug on Instagram

Maybe don't get your medical advice from Kim Kardashian's Instagram account.


Aaron Sankin


Posted on Aug 11, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 4:34 am CDT

Kim Kardashian is famously famous for being famous. Whatever she does attracts attention, especially on social media. And wherever there’s a shiny thing for people to look at, there will be brands clamoring to put advertisements all over that space. 

It’s the circle of thirst, and it moves us all.

One such advertisement, posted to Kardashian’s Instagram account last month, has attracted the ire of the Food and Drug Administration. The post, which Kardashian also linked to on her Twitter account, extolled the benefits of a medication designed to ease the symptoms of morning sickness.

In a warning letter dated Aug. 7, the FDA charges that Kardashian’s promotion of the drug, Diclegis, “[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,” continues the letter, which ordered Duchesnay, the drug’s manufacturer, to have the post taken down.

The post was deleted, but it was captured for posterity by Forbes.

The FDA’s problem with Kardashian’s post is that, while the drug has been approved for public use, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star didn’t include any mention of its  possibly very serious side effects—a necessary part of any drug advertisement in the United States.

While the post concluded with Kardashian urging her followers to consult their doctors before trying Diclegis and directed them to a pair of websites with information about the drug, those disclosures weren’t sufficient for the FDA. “This does not mitigate the misleading omission of risk information,” the letter insists.

Between her Twitter and Instagram accounts, Kardashian has nearly 77 million followers. As such, her social media feeds are valuable real estate for advertisers looking to reach a large quantity of people who have already voluntarily signed up to read what Kardashian has to say.

Kardashian is pregnant with her second child with rapper Kanye West and has been actively documenting her pregnancy on social media—even posting a naked pregnancy selfie to Instagram on Tuesday.

Many famous people with large social media followings have taken to acting as online pitchmen and women for brands as an easy way to earn revenue. New York reports rapper Snoop Dogg earns $8,000 per tweet and singer/reality TV star Paula Abdul gets about $5,000 per 140-character missive. In the middle of his public meltdown, Charlie Sheen was reportedly making $50,000 every time he plugged a brand on Twitter.

H/T Washington Post | Photo by The Heart Truth/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

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*First Published: Aug 11, 2015, 8:53 pm CDT