Drugmaker Eli Lilly releases ad criticizing people using weight-loss meds for cosmetic purposes

Ahead of the 2024 Academy Awards, the company behind Zepbound and Mounjaro took jabs at those using their weight loss medications when not medically required in their "Big Night" campaign.

Ahead of the 2024 Academy Awards, a major pharmaceutical company used a 30-second ad slot to criticize those taking their drugs for the wrong reasons — including Hollywood celebrities.

Eli Lilly, the company behind Zepbound and Mounjaro, took jabs at those who use their weight loss medications when they don’t meet the medical requirements in their “Big Night” campaign, People reported.

Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly, the company behind Zepbound and Mounjaro, does not want people using their medications for “vanity” reasons. (Photo Credit: Adobe Stock)

The advertisement opened with a voiceover saying, “Some people have been using medicine never meant for them. For the smaller dress or tux, for a big night, for vanity.” 

“But that’s not the point,” it added, as it showed a red carpet, paparazzi, and a woman laying out a glamorous dress.

Mounjaro and Zepbound are brand names for tirzepatide, which reduces appetite and improves how the body breaks down sugar and fat. Mounjaro is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound is FDA-approved to treat obesity. 

The advertisement also features a casually dressed woman using public transportation.

“People whose health is affected by obesity are the reason we work on these medications,” the voiceover continued. “It matters who gets them.”

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Mounjaro and Zepbound have grown in popularity over the past year, partly due to the widespread use of Novo Nordisk’s rival medication semaglutide — marketed under the names Ozempic and Wegovy — for off-label weight loss.

According to People, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks told CNN that the pharmaceutical companies developed the medications for people with severe health conditions, not “just to have someone who’s famous look a little bit better.”

Ricks stated that the primary purpose of the advertisement was to raise awareness of Obesity Care Week. However, this weekend’s Oscars was a bonus for their message against using these medications for “vanity.”

“It just so happens at the end of the week is a big award show, the Oscars,” said Ricks, People reported. “And so we’re kind of seizing that moment to juxtapose those two ideas, that this is a serious condition with a serious medication. We have to use language to talk about the condition beyond just what size dress you fit into or whatever. It’s not for that.”

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