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Eli Lilly has a message for people who are taking prescription medications developed for patients with Type 2 diabetes and obesity: Don’t take the drugs just because you want to look good.

The message, delivered in a new Hollywood-themed ad called “Big Night,” will air this weekend and is timed to coincide with Sunday’s broadcast of the Oscars. The spot opens with a shot of a sequined gown, suggesting that the woman voicing the campaign is preparing for a formal event. 

“Some people have been using medicine never meant for them. For the smaller dress or tux, for a big night, for vanity,” the character in the ad says. The camera then pans to a theater resembling the one in which the Academy Awards are handed out. The point is clear: Drugs like Lilly’s Mounjaro or Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy aren’t intended for general weight loss.

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


Big Night by
Eli Lilly and Company on
YouTube

Mounjaro is used to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes. But the drug and similar medications have soared in popularity among people who aren’t diabetic but who want to shed a few pounds to improve their appearance. Lilly also makes Zepbound, which is indicated for adults with obesity. 

This year’s Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel, opened the 2023 awards ceremony by poking fun at Ozempic.

“Everybody looks so great. When I look around this room I can’t help but wonder, ‘Is Ozempic right for me?'” he quipped. 

“Part of the cultural dialogue”

In a statement ahead of its new ad, Lilly underlined that people shouldn’t take drugs like Mounjaro just because they want to be slimmer.

The ad “addresses a topic that has been part of the cultural dialogue at recent high-profile awards ceremonies: the use of anti-obesity medications outside their FDA-approved indications,” the company said.  “Patient safety is Lilly’s top priority, and our medicines are indicated for the treatment of serious diseases.”

The drugmaker also makes clear that the medications are only approved for certain uses.


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“They were not studied for, are not approved for, and should not be used for cosmetic weight loss, and at Lilly we believe it is important that, in consultation with their health care providers, the right people can get access to these medicines,” Lilly said.

In a separate open letter regarding how such drugs are use, Lilly said “stands against the use of its medicines for cosmetic weight loss.”

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