If you were among the 12.6 million viewers who tuned in for the Nov. 1 episode of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," you may have noticed a brief commercial that aired at about the midway point in the episode. Featuring a determined-looking middle-aged woman who hops out of a cab that's been stymied by afternoon Brooklyn traffic, the 15-second spot is for Eli Lilly's new cancer drug, Verzenio.
Within the context of the episode's rapid-fire jokes about Amish barn-raisings, toddlers wearing soiled diapers on their heads and the perils of academic grant allocations, the Verzenio ad is somewhat jarring. "Metastatic breast cancer is trying to stop mebut not today," the actress intones as she rushes to collect her granddaughter from school. The short spot ends with a call to action, prompting interested viewers to seek out additional information about the drug at TreatMBC.com, which redirects to Lilly's Verzenio page.
If an ad touting a compound designed to treat advanced-stage breast cancer seems somewhat out of place amid the quips and groaners supplied by "The Big Bang Theory," Verzenio is hardly an outlier. Among the pharmaceutical products that have bought time this season in TV's most-watched comedy are the rheumatoid arthritis drugs Enbrel and Xeljanz; Lyrica, a remedy prescribed for the treatment of neuropathy; and Trulicity, a once-weekly dose designed to combat type 2 diabetes.