Sanofi: No Roseanne, Ambien doesn’t cause racism

Sanofi yesterday proved the power of a pithy tweet, after US comedienne Roseanne Barr sought to blame its sleep aid drug Ambien for a racist post she made.

The pharma company swiftly responded to Barr’s comment about an Obama-era presidential aide, sayingracism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication”.

In doing so Sanofi’s US arm won positive coverage from the likes of the BBC and The New York Times, was able to counteract Barr’s narrative about its product and draw widespread support outside the pharma sector.

The company said: “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

At the time of writing the company’s post had received 61,000 retweets and 160,000 likes,  plus 5,400 comments debating racism, drug side effects and wider healthcare issues, with several other institutions weighing in on the subject.

Barr’s self-titled comedy show, previously a ratings-winner for US television network ABC, has been cancelled.

On Monday the TV star posted a tweet saying former White House aide Valerie Jarrett was the child of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, and the Planet of the Apes film.

Barr’s later tweet suggested that her actions had been partly a result of taking Ambien: “guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-I went 2 far & do not want it defended.”

Barr subsequently deleted the original post, saying she would leave Twitter, but has since doubled-down on defending her position.

Her comments led to Ambien swiftly becoming a meme on social media, with the drug blamed for everything from the acts of dictators through the ages to eating too much cake.

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