Pfizer's dead rat ad dodges ban

LONDON - A hard-hitting cinema ad warning of the dangers of buying prescription-only medication online has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad showed a man taking a tablet and shortly afterwards reaching into his mouth to retract a dead rat – pulling it out by its tail while appearing to gag.

The voiceover said: "Rat poison. Just one of the dangerous ingredients that may be found in fake medicines purchased from illegal websites."

Further text stated: "Get real. Get a prescription."

The man was then shown holding out the rat and dropping it on the floor before turning to vomit into the kitchen sink.

The ad received 64 complaints from people concerned that it would cause viewers undue distress.

However, the watchdog felt that the ad was highlighting a serious issue, so the metaphor of regurgitating a rat was justified.

It deemed no further action to be necessary.