These pharmaceutical companies are funding the spread of COVID misinformation on Fox News
Many pharmaceutical companies that are conducting ongoing research into COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines are among the top sponsors of the Fox News Channel, a cesspool of medical misinformation, racist fearmongering, and reckless speculation that put vulnerable populations in harm’s way. These companies, many of which are spending millions to research therapies and donate specialized resources that might alleviate the toll of the virus, are undermining their own work by advertising on Fox News, whose coverage of the pandemic has been described as a “genuine public health threat.”
Here’s a list of these pharmaceutical companies. You can let them know they must stop sponsoring the spread of deadly misinformation during a global pandemic.
GlaxoSmithKline is a U.K.-based global pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturer and a leading Fox News advertiser. It has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into researching COVID-19 therapeutics and has partnered with the British government and AstraZeneca to set up a testing facility at the University of Cambridge.
The company has run over 3,000 ads on Fox News since January 2019 and recently advertised on shows that have misinformed viewers about COVID-19, including Fox & Friends and The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton.
Pfizer is an American biopharmaceutical company and a top Fox News advertiser. The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to scale up its manufacturing capacity to fight COVID-19 and is running multiple studies into potential therapeutics.
Pfizer has run over 2,600 ads on Fox News since January 2019.
Novartis is a Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer and a Fox News advertiser. The company makes hydroxychloroquine and has promised to donate its entire inventory “not already allocated to existing orders and customers” to combat COVID-19. It also recently established the COVID-19 Response Fund, pledging “$20 million in grants to support public health initiatives.”
The company has run nearly 1,900 ads on Fox News since January 2019. In 2020, it has advertised on shows hosted by COVID misinformers such as Maria Bartiromo and Laura Ingraham.
Sanofi is a multinational pharmaceutical company, a manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine, and a top advertiser on COVID misinformer Sean Hannity’s prime-time show.
In collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi is currently testing a prescription medication designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis among COVID patients in New York with the hope that the drug can alleviate fevers and aid patients with oxygen intake.
Since January 2019, Sanofi-owned brands have advertised on Fox News over 1,700 times. Besides being a top advertiser on Hannity, Sanofi has paid for programming on shows that have advocated for the premature end to social distancing guidelines, including The Ingraham Angle and Fox & Friends. Previously, Sanofi dropped Bill O’Reilly’s now-defunct prime-time show when he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. It remains to be seen if the company will do the same when even more is at stake.
Vanda Pharmaceuticals is a therapeutics manufacturer based in Washington, D.C. It is currently running a clinical study of potential COVID treatments. The company has run 269 advertisements on Fox News since January 2019, including following Sean Hannity’s interview with President Donald Trump in which Trump touted “potential cures” for coronavirus that might benefit Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Bayer is a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer that also manufactures chloroquine phosphate, and it is a top advertiser on Hannity and Fox News overall. The company has made multiple pledges to donate resources to fight COVID-19 in the U.S. and Spain. It is also paying for the spread of medical misinformation by advertising on Fox News: the company has run over 3,900 ads since January 2019, including 493 since the beginning of 2020. Brands owned by Bayer that run advertisements on the network include Bayer Aspirin, Aleve, Claritin, Dr. Scholl’s and Alka-Seltzer, among many others.
Gilead Sciences is a California-based pharmaceutical research and development company that has a forthcoming study of its drug Remdesivir and whether it has therapeutic properties to treat COVID-19. It has run 269 advertisements on Fox since January 2019. This year, the company advertised on shows hosted by coronavirus misinformers, including Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro.
AstraZeneca is a multinational biopharmaceutical company that frequently advertises on Fox News. The company is currently researching potential treatments for coronavirus using antibody therapeutics. It has also publicly committed to donating 9 million face masks to health care workers across the world. The company is also a major sponsor of programs spreading COVID-19 misinformation; since January 2019 it has run over 700 advertisements on Fox News, including on Fox & Friends, and The Five.
Takeda is a global pharmaceutical company and a Fox News advertiser that recently announced it is partnering with plasma companies to develop an antibody therapeutic to treat complications associated with COVID-19. It has advertised on Fox 563 times since January 2019 and recently ran ads on The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, a show that has promoted an approach to COVID-19 that runs afoul of guidance from public health experts.