Pop star Lady Gaga is facing major backlash from a large segment of her fan base for reading out an ad for Pfizer’s new migraine drug onstage in the middle of her performance, with the drug branding overlaid on the screen.
“I know what it’s like to perform through pain. If you’re like me, one of the millions suffering from pain caused by migraine, Nurtec ODT might help. It’s the only medication that can treat a migraine when it strikes and prevent migraine attacks,” the pop singer told viewers in the ad.
After she did the ad for Pfizer’s Nurtec ODT migraine treatment, critics blasted Lady Gaga for selling out to Big Pharma — with some even claiming that she was killing her fans.
The pop singer also posted an advertisement for the drug on her Instagram on June 13, writing: “Ever since childhood, I’ve dealt with migraine pain. When I tried Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant) 75 mg for the first time, I’ll never forget wishing I had found it sooner. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Nurtec ODT. We’re in this together. If you’re ready to speak to a doctor, ask about Nurtec ODT today. #MHAM.”
Lady Gaga was reportedly diagnosed with migraines when she was 14 years old. The National Institutes of Health describes a migraine as a “type of headache characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head.”
“My experience with migraines was debilitating. I would be in bed for days with tremendous pain in my head, behind my eyes, and all throughout my face,” Lady Gaga told Pfizer. “I couldn’t read or have any lights on, and I needed to be alone in a quiet room for hours that could lead to days until the pain subsided.”
The Nurtec ODT migraine treatment is “already the #1 prescribed migraine medicine in its class in the United States,” according to Nick Lagunowich, the global president of emerging markets at Pfizer.
However, on March 16 of this year, Pfizer was forced to recall more than 4.2 million units of the Nurtec 75-milligram tablets after the packaging was found to not be child-resistant and a poison risk.
In response to her promotion of Pfizer, critics and fans blasted her for supporting Big Pharma.
“Keep pushin’ big pharma.. keep killing your fans,” one Instagram comment read.
“Lady Gaga is doing paid promotion for Pfizer & promoting their meds. Big Pharma is ruining this country. It has swallowed up both sides of politics, the media, the food supply, the entertainment industry & our country is suffering,” tweeted musician and political commentator An0maly.
Lady Gaga is doing paid promotion for Pfizer & promoting their meds.
Big Pharma is ruining this country. It has swallowed up both sides of politics, the media, the food supply, the entertainment industry & our country is suffering. pic.twitter.com/w9TAnI9dBj
— An0maly (@LegendaryEnergy) June 13, 2023
Meanwhile, Pfizer’s global primary care and U.S. president Angela Lukin has defended the company’s partnership with Lady Gaga.
“Lady Gaga’s story is a powerful reminder of how significantly migraine affects the lives of so many people. We believe that this collaboration will help raise awareness of this often ‘silent’ disease and inspire those living with migraine to have conversations with their health-care providers about the best way to manage their condition,” she wrote in a statement.