All right, already, Pfizer says. The drugmaker is pulling its Lipitor ads that feature artificial heart inventor Robert Jarvik. That's after a flurry of media coverage--in which Jarvik was shown to lack a license to practice medicine and, horror of horrors, to lack rowing ability. The latter deficiency was relevant, of course, because one ad showed Jarvik sculling across a lake, only it wasn't the doctor but a body double.
"The way in which we presented Dr. Jarvik in these ads has, unfortunately, led to mis-impressions and distractions from our primary goal," a Pfizer statement said. "Going forward, we commit to ensuring there is greater clarity in our advertising regarding the presentation of spokespeople."
Pulling the ads probably has a bit to do with a Congressional investigation as well. You'll recall that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce had been looking into the ads, questioning whether Jarvik was qualified to recommend the cholesterol med. Now, the committee's lead investigators are chuffed. "I commend Pfizer for doing the right thing and pulling the Lipitor ads featuring Jarvik," said Rep. Bart Stupak, who chairs the subcommittee on oversight.
However, the committee doesn't appear to be satisfied. Stupak told the New York Times that the group intends to continue investigating. Including taking a meeting with Jarvik himself.
- read Pfizer's release
- see the article from the New York Times
- check out the item and one ad video at Pharmalot
- see the commentary at DrugWonks
- read the item at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog
Congress wants more on Jarvik. Report
Lipitor doc doesn't practice rowing, either. Report
House objects to Pfizer's Lipitor pitchman. Report
Drug ads challenge reputation of inventor. Report