Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Keeping up with the Kardashians poses public health risk

Mari-Len De   

Features Opinion

Kim Kardashian at the 2011 Do Something Awards held at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood on August 14, 2011. Tinseltown /

The recent celebrity endorsement of a prescription drug for morning sickness made national news and spread like wildfire on social media this week.

Kim Kardashian, one of the stars of reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians, posted on several of her social media pages how the prescription medication, Diclegis, helped her overcome nausea during her pregnancy, adding that “it’s been studied and there was no increased risk to the baby.” The post has since been deleted.

U.S. and Canadian health authorities quickly reacted saying Kardashian’s product endorsement violates drug advertisement regulations. In a CBC news report, Toronto physician Dr. Nav Persaud expressed concern with women being misled about a medication and “basing decisions on the experience of one person, in this case a very influential person.”


A celebrity giving health care advice is a problem, but not the bigger problem here. It’s that drug manufacturers are now finding more creative ways to promote their products to the public, with subtle suggestions from big shot celebrities who are more than willing to do it for the right price, using social media where there is less regulatory oversight.

It is human nature to be fascinated by and drawn to fame and power. We like to emulate people we admire. This is why celebrity endorsements have been a huge part of brand promotions by big corporations. Who does not want to look as sleek as David Beckham in H&M shirt, right? People like to know what their favourite movie stars eat, drink, wear and use.

Drug endorsements by celebrities take branding to the next level, and it may be putting public health at risk. Health-care practitioners have a role to play to ensure their patients are appropriately informed and are able to make health-care decisions based on the evidence and not on who is using what medication.

It’s a 24/7 news cycle world we live in. People get their news and information from different devices and platforms, and from a wide array of sources – from reputable news organizations to gossip-driven blogging sites. We are saturated with unfiltered information on a daily basis that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, an important human process that allows us to make the right choices in our lives.

When health-care decisions and opinions are formed based on the words of a paid celebrity, public health is put at risk. Patient education has never been more important.

Health-care practitioners have a responsibility to help patients filter those information that are coming at them and help them make the right choices. Keep the line of communication open with patients and encourage them to ask questions about their health care. This means keeping up with new information as well as current issues and trends on patient care.

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