Drugmakers join Facebook ad boycott

July 6, 2020

Several drugmakers have joined a Facebook ad boycott, halting campaigns that were previously running on the social network, as a way of protesting Facebook’s lack of progress combating hate speech and misinformation.

Pfizer, Vertex, Novartis, Bayer AG, and Merck KGaA are among the companies who officially joined #StopHateForProfit, a movement called for by non-profit groups such as the NAACP and ADL, along with advocacy organization Sleeping Giants, on June 17.

“At Pfizer, our Equity Value is core to who we are as a company, and all forms of hate speech go against that value,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, in a published statement. “Today, we are asking Facebook to take proactive steps to ensure their platforms are safe and trusted spaces for all.”

According to an analysis cited by Medical Marketing & Media, out of 90 pharma Rx brands that ran digital ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram last month, 39 (43%) paused for Juneteenth weekend and 58 (64%) paused on July 1.

Not all of these pauses were done to make a social statement, however, as many pharma companies are directing energy and funds towards brand safety, rather than advertising.