Axios Closer

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Monday ✅.

Today's newsletter is 696 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 0.1%.

  • Biggest gainer? Norwegian Cruise Line (+7.6%) reported better-than-expected results for Q1 and lifted its full-year earnings guidance.
  • Biggest decliner? JPMorgan Chase (-4.5%) held its investor day today, at which CEO Jamie Dimon talked more concretely than ever about the bank's succession planning.

1 big thing: Drug ads are going to look different

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

A new chapter in drug advertising began today.

Why it matters: Direct-to-consumer drug ads can drive patient demand for medications, including those rated as offering comparably low added benefit for patients.

Between the lines: A federal transparency rule just kicked in that requires commercials to clearly spell out potential side effects and when a person should avoid the medicine.

  • The rule lays out five standards for direct-to-consumer ads to be more upfront about possible pitfalls, including a requirement that the information be presented in "consumer-friendly language and terminology that is readily understandable."
  • The "major statement" of an ad, where the known risks are enumerated, also has to be clear and conspicuous, by limiting distracting audio or visual elements, like a person dancing to an upbeat song.

Yes, but: The new rule doesn't address the flood of potentially misleading social media content promoting prescription drugs, including new weight-loss treatments like Wegovy, that's prompted calls in Congress for updated enforcement.

The big picture: Direct-to-consumer promotions exploded during the pandemic, exposing the shortcomings of marketing standards that were written more than 20 years ago, and for a very different industry landscape, per Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

What we're watching: Drugmakers have six months to come into full compliance with the new rule, and it's unclear how aggressively the FDA will enforce the requirements, per Ropes & Gray.

Go deeper

2. Charted: Along for the ride

A line chart that displays the daily stock price of Hims & Hers Health from January 2 to May 20, 2024. The price fluctuates between $8.32 and $18.6, with a notable increase in late February, reaching a peak of $16.73 in March. The price then declines to $11.26 in early May before rising again to $18.6 by May 20.
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

The financial promise of weight-loss drugs is giving another company a boost: This time it's Hims & Hers.

  • The telehealth company's stock soared over 27% today after it said it would begin selling compounded versions of the GLP-1 injections that are soaring in popularity.

Between the lines: The treatments will be offered for $199 monthly, which "includes unlimited medical consultations with a licensed provider" and must be prescribed based on what is "medically appropriate and necessary for each patient," the company said.

The intrigue: Hims & Hers can offer the so-called compounded version of the drugs due to their appearance on the FDA's drug shortages list, Bloomberg noted.

  • Drugs like Novo Nordisk's Wegovy and Eli Lilly's Zepbound have been in short supply, with both companies scrambling to ramp up production.

What to watch: When supplies stabilize, "Hims & Hers plans to make branded options available to customers," the company said.

3. What's happening

ğŸŽ¯ Target is cutting prices on as many as 5,000 items starting today through the summer. (CNN)

✈️ Spirit Airlines dropped change and cancellation fees days after Frontier's similar announcement. (CNBC)

ğŸ¦ž Red Lobster filed for bankruptcy. (Axios)

4. "Her" on hold

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

OpenAI is pulling back its flirty and "very friendly" voice amid backlash that the tech company is catering to male fantasies with its latest ChatGPT update.

Why it matters: Female voices and personalities have long been used as the default for virtual assistants, which experts say reinforces gender stereotypes and fuels misogyny.

The intrigue: OpenAI's volte-face comes a week after CEO Sam Altman tweeted just one word — "her," the name of the 2013 Spike Jonze film about a man who falls in love with an AI.

  • In the movie, the AI's voice was played by Scarlett Johansson.

💭 Our thought bubble, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: OpenAI hasn't indicated it has any qualms or concerns about the over-friendliness of "Sky," the voice in its demo. But the company wants everyone to understand that "Sky" has no relationship whatsoever to Johansson.

  • That suggests OpenAI's announced "pause" in using Sky's voice might have more to do with legal concerns than sensitivity over sexism.

What we're watching: Whichever voice they replace this one with, if the tone remains flirtatious, the criticism remains valid.

5. Bumble expands further beyond dating

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Bumble has agreed to acquire community app Geneva as it seeks to improve its tools for connection, including beyond dating.

Zoom in: Founded in 2018, Geneva offers an app for finding connections based on shared interests such as running clubs. It helps users plan events and communicate with group pages and chat features.

Zoom out: Bumble is poised for more change.

The big picture: The deal is part of Bumble CEO Lidiane Jones' efforts to revitalize the company amid dating app fatigue.

Go deeper: If you need smart, quick intel on media dealmaking for your job, get Axios Pro.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

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