Posted on March 20, 2024

Advil Launches “Pain Equity Project” to Tackle Racism in Pain Management

Natasha Biase, The Publica, March 16, 2024

A resurfaced ad for a prominent painkiller brand has sparked outrage for calling out racial bias in healthcare. The Advil Pain Equity Project dropped last year to shed light on “pain inequity” and how it impacts Black communities.

The YouTube series, titled Believe My Pain, was produced in partnership with The Morehouse School of Medicine based in Atlanta, and the non-profit BLKHLTH, dedicated to “creating a space for critical conversations about racism, health, and new ways forward,” and consists of several videos of visible minorities recounting their experiences with medical professionals.

One video introducing the campaign begins with a Black man expressing his frustration with the healthcare system: “When I approach a medical professional, I’m frustrated that we have to validate our pain just to get treated like human beings.”

Continuing, a text overlay cites statistics from a study conducted by Advil about “pain experiences,” which concluded that “74% of black people said there is bias in how pain is diagnosed and treated.” The study surveyed “2,000 Americans about their experiences when seeking pain care and treatment” and found the results from Black individuals to be “significant.”

Another black woman highlighted in the video admitted that while the “healing of the body was easy for [her], she had a difficult time overcoming the “psychological part” of seeking help to deal with her health issues.

In addition to featuring individual stories, the series hosted a roundtable unpacking what the painkiller company describes as “systemic bias in healthcare.” The discussion was hosted by Elaine Welteroth, an American journalist and TV host, and covered several topics, including the “reality of pain inequity.”

Included among the participants was Dr. Uché Blackstock, a physician and expert on racial bias in healthcare. According to her, physicians believe that Black people are different from other people.