The fall of Pfizer's ad campaign

I wrote on MileHive and Suite101 a couple months ago about Pfizer's legal problems. In culminated with those cheesy ads for Lipitor, where the creator of the artifical heart touts his use of the medication to prevent the heart disease that killed his father, being pulled. Pfizer withdrew their $250 million ad campaign because congress questioned their marketing practices. For one, Jarvik (the doctor) was never licensed as a practicing medical doctor and was never a cardiologist. For another, Jarvik only started taking Lipitor a month after he signed a $1.3 million deal to do the ads. Yes, let me repeat that. The New York Times stated that the doctor in the commercial WASN'T EVEN ON THE MEDICATION UNTIL HE WAS PAID TO BE. How's that for consumer confidence?

Ok, so there's truth in the ads. Jarvik did invent the artificial heart...25 years ago. Pfizer is the maker of Lipitor which is approved by the FDA to be prescribed with the goal of lowering cholesterol levels. And there are side effects to watch out for. Other than that...a person has to watch their back. Even doctors don't see the research behind drug approval and Lipitor really should only be given to men who have had a previous heart attack and have high cholesterol. Like all the other statins there's no evidence for its benefit in women or for those without a history of heart disease.

I'm just sayin'.

Oh and yes, I am happy about the fact that congress is pursuing the issue. It's about time the pharmaceutical companies are held accountable for the lies smattered amongst truth. People's lives are at stake. They should be busy saving them and making medication less expensive with fewer side effects instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on promoting their own version of things. There's a reason I didn't get an industry job after my PhD. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

No comments: