Drugmaker says racism is not caused by Ambien

Sanofi on Side Effects

Drugmaker says racism is not caused by Ambien

The fact that Roseanne Barr made waves by tweeting a negative slur about a member of the Obama administration and then blaming a sleep drug for the lapse is old news. The well-crafted response of the company that makes the drug is a public relations move well worth repeating.

According to Diana Bradley, of PRWeek (https://www.mmm-online.com/corporate/ambien-maker-sanofis-response-to-roseanne-racism-is-not-a-side-effect/article/769191/), Sanofi's communications team considered itself "obligated" to respond after the company saw Roseanne Barr blame a racist tweet on "Ambien tweeting," the French company’s North American communications leader said. As Angela Bechan, head of communications for North America at Sanofi, explained, the maker of sleep aid Ambien sought to make it clear the company does not condone hate speech. After the communications team saw Barr's tweet, it immediately developed a response plan.

Further, Bechan said, "Our view is that using our medicines as a crutch for bad behavior is not appropriate. It comes down to our core values at Sanofi: we take diversity and inclusion very seriously. It is part of how we work every day."

Last week, Sanofi tweeted that "“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” The tweet was in response to Barr's claim that "Ambien tweeting" was partially at fault for her insulting of Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama. Within a few hours, ABC cancelled the revival of her sitcom, Roseanne.

As company officials emphasized, “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world.” Sanofi has no intention of commenting further on the matter. "[Following our tweet], we are getting contacted by various media outlets, so we are responding to those inquiries with a consistent message," Bechan explained.

Jeremy Berke of Business Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/roseanne-sanofi-tweets-racism-side-effect-of-ambien-2018-5) added, “Ambien, which is used to treat insomnia, does have side effects, as do most pharmaceutical drugs. But none of them could directly lead to racist tweeting. Some users of Ambien report headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. A small percentage of users have reported behavioral side effects such as disorientation and hallucinations.”

As Naomi Kresge of Bloomberg News (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-30/sanofi-to-roseanne-racism-not-among-ambien-s-many-side-effects) explained, Sanofi’s sleeping pill Ambien has a long list of potential side effects, from dizziness to diarrhea to a midnight food binge. Sanofi says that racism is not among them.

Barr, 65, said, “I’ve done weird stuff while on Ambien -- cracked eggs on the wall at 2am etc.” Barr described Jarrett as the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.” Jarrett, who is black, is not a follower of Islam.