WASHINGTON - February 1 - Consumers Union's Internet animation parodying the prescription drug industry -- and its accompany online advocacy campaign to reform drug safety and affordability -- was lauded by the Public Affairs Council for the best Technology Innovation in grassroots outreach.
The animation, "The Drugs I Need," was launched in March by Consumers Union to highlight the massive amount of drug industry advertising and marketing to consumers. Featured on the Jib Jab Web site, as well as on The Today Show and The New York Times, the animation has been viewed by more than 2.5 million people and generated more than 30,000 letters to Congress supporting drug safety and pricing reform.
"The drug industry spends millions of dollars lobbying politicians to build their profits, but consumers don't have that kind of access to get their voices heard about skyrocketing drug costs or unsafe medicines," said Rob Schneider, director of Consumers Union's http://www.PrescriptionforChange.org campaign, where the animation can be viewed.
"By using the Internet, we created a quick and easy way for consumers to join together to have their frustrations with the drug industry heard in Congress," Schneider said.
The song, created by the Texas bluegrass band the Austin Lounge Lizards, is a humorous take on drug companies' billion- dollar marketing budgets, the serious side effects associated with blockbuster drugs, and the high costs Americans pay. Among the lyrics:
"You've got a headache, I've got some strange disease Don't worry about it, this pill will set your mind at ease It's called Progenitorivox, It's made by SquabbMerlCo It's a life-enhancing miracle, but there are some things you should know... It may cause agitation, palpitations, excessive salivation, Constipation, male lactation, rust-colored urination Hallucinations, bad vibrations, mild electric shock sensations But it's worth it for the drugs I need."
The humorous animation was created by the Animation Farm. After someone plays the animation they are directed to more information about drug safety and have an opportunity to send an email to Congress, using Consumers Union's e-outreach tool.
First presented in 2000, the Public Affairs Council awards recognize the nation's best grassroots programs and campaigns. Launched in 1954 at the urging of President Eisenhower, the non- partisan, non-political organization is the leading association for public affairs professionals. The awards were presented at the Council's 29th annual conference in Key West, Fla., Jan. 24- 27.