Congresswoman Michele Bachmann singed a $6 million deal today to endorse a popular antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia.
In a press release on its website, pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Meyers-Squib said Bachmann has been hired to endorse Abilify, a powerful psychiatric drug also used for bipolar disorder.
Sources close to the deal say that Bachmann, who recently announced she will be retiring from Congress, is trying to transition out of politics into a more financially lucrative role.
After meeting with lobbying and law firms, she ultimately decided on an endorsement job because the resultant advertising campaign would keep her in the public eye.
Although unusual, it is not unprecedented for a politician to endorse a pharmaceutical product. Former Republican senator and presidential nominee Bob Dole famously endorsed Viagra, the male impotence medication, in the late 1990s.
Bachmann’s move, however, is unique because it represents the first time a sitting politician has promoted a treatment for mental illness.
The first advertisement to feature the Tea Party firebrand is already airing on television, and highlights Bachmann’s personal experience with the medication.
“When I started having visions of Vietnamese sea dragons trying to force me to have an abortion on the surface of Mars, my doctor prescribed Abilify,” she says in the ad, “and now only two months into treatment, my hallucinations have been reduced by 70 percent.
“If you’re like me and you have trouble getting through your day without crippling visions and paranoia, ask your doctor if Abilify is right for you. Remember only Abilify is approved to treat both hallucinations and mania, so don’t delay – talk to your doctor today.”
Mental health experts say that Bachmann’s endorsement deal represents a watershed for politicians struggling with mental illness.
“Hopefully Louie Gohmert will see this ad and get treated,” says Dr. Tyrone Berger, administrator of the National Institute of Mental Health. “Anti-psychotics could change the way we think about Congress.”