Wednesday, September 04, 2013

What Are Walmart Pharmacists Doing Health-Washing Cookies?


That photo up above was sent to me by a disgruntled Walmart pharmacist. This pharmacist had been tasked to hand out to clients a FREE package of "Health and Wellness" products for Fall.

Check out the sponsors of the package and play, "One of these things is not like the other".

Did you catch the Bear Paws?

In case you aren't familiar, Dare Foods' Bear Paws have been featured on this blog before in a guest post that pointed out that not only are they cookies, but that they're targeting children and parents to suggest that cookies make great snacks. Clearly here Dare Foods' marketing arm has decided to market them as healthy by paying for them to be included in a bag handed out by a trusted allied health professional.

To put these cookies into a tiny bit of perspective, a few years ago Nabisco made something called Triple Double Oreos (picture a triple decker Oreo). Comparing nutrition facts, a Bear Paws cookie has 20% more calories and 12% more sugar than one of those Franken-Oreos.

If you have another close peek at the sponsors, you'll catch this line,
"The Pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services."
which led my angry Walmart pharmacist whistle blower to state,
"Of note, on the pics I sent you, I love the disclaimer at the bottom about how we don't "endorse" any sponsors products. Well, yeah, we kind of do if we explicitly hand the package over to the patient with the sample in it. I would count that as an endorsement."
So would I angry pharmacist, so would I, and undoubtedly too, so would Dare Foods.

Shame on you Walmart. While I have no issue with you selling all the Bear Paws you want, having your pharmacists hand them out in the name of health just so that you can make a few more bucks is simply abominable.

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  1. I agree that all kinds of products may be sold at a retail outlet such as Walmart. That said I totally agree that Bear Paws are completely inappropriate as an inclusion in a Health & Wellness package. What what Walmart thinking? Furthermore, what was Dare thinking? I like cookies as much as the next person, but in a Health & wellness handout? Misleading is the word that comes to mind.

  2. Rebecca8:05 am

    Gee, I don't know...I kinda think the cookies belong up there with all the other "sickness" products being promoted. Eat crap and get sick so the pharmaceutical industry can make billions off you. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing the ad got right is the basket of apples. Let's hope people don't read any further than that!

  3. I think it's just as absurd to see most of the other brands there, particularly Splenda, Gummy vitamins, OTC drugs and of course...Pfizer. It's kind of a you-know-what storm of unhealthy things and maybe that's why some of the other, ahem,products are there as well.
    Not much do do with wellness in this whole grouping. I don't eat packaged food, but I'd rather feed my kids the chemical concoction that is Bear paws before Splenda would pass their lips...

  4. Whenever I get a heads up about issues like this I always begin to think 'so what can we do about this'. It is not good enough to just identify a problem without being willing to go the next mile.

    So I ask, as an RN, allied health professional supporting this pharmacist, how can we collectively and collaboratively let our voices be heard about this messaging at Walmart? Would the pharmacy dept. be willing to make their concerns known to Walmart, in a politically correct way that all other health professionals could support?

    I think this would have to include a suggestion for what kind of a 'package' we would be happy to share with customers that could REALLY help them to taking responsibility for their health, provide true, reliable healthy eating and active living information.

    Are we going to take up the challenge or let this die?

    Do you remember the story about the experiment at a US Walmart where they changed the entire checkout isle to have fresh produce, informative information, healthy choices, skipping ropes and the like? What an awesome concept! People loved it! We need to support and encourage that kind of change on a bigger scale.

  5. While cookies are indeed great snacks, they are only so if you're aware that they're cookies and eat them accordingly rather than thinking they're health food and that the more you eat the healthier you must be. With the exception of oatmeal, I'm beginning to be of the opinion that if it says it's healthy, it's not. Brown rice, beans, veggies ... it's pretty rare that I see health marketing claims on these at my grocery.

  6. Bobbini11:02 am

    I wonder whether the "conscience" laws passed in some states in the U.S. would allow pharmacists like this to refuse to participate without jeopardizing employment? After all, if pharmacists can refuse to fill legitimate prescriptions because of moral objections, certainly not handing out freebies should be an option as well.