Congress onto Jarvick-Lipitor Ad Deal

Here’s more on the congressional investigation into Lipitor’s advertising campaign featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik; pioneer of the artificial heart. Stephanie Saul of The New York Times reports:
The demand for records was made in letters mailed Thursday to nine advertising firms thought to be involved in Dr. Jarvik’s advertising campaign for Lipitor, the cholesterol medication that is the world’s top-selling drug.


The letters from Representatives John D. Dingell and Bart Stupak, both Michigan Democrats, said the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on oversight and investigations were investigating “false and misleading statements and the use of celebrity endorsements of prescription medications in direct-to-consumer advertising.”

The committee released a copy of Dr. Jarvik’s contract with Lipitor’s maker, Pfizer, revealing that the company agreed to pay Dr. Jarvik, a pioneer in artificial hearts, a minimum of $1,350,000 over two years for serving as celebrity pitchman for Lipitor.
For background on this whole Jarvick-Lipitor mess, check out Jarvik on the Hot Seat. It kicked up a good comment stream. Take a look:
Paige: "For many people like me, diet and exercise aren't enough."


Me: Same here! The other commercials that REALLY annoy me are the Vytorin TV ads, the ones with the family and food. Makes me insane! Grrrrr!
Speaking of Vytorin, Julie Upton, RD of Poked & Prodded is less than impressed by Vytorin’s hard-to-swallow claims. Here’s a bit:
You’ve probably heard about the study that says that the popular cholesterol-lowering drug, Vytorin, might not slow the progression of heart disease.


You probably also know the drug’s annoying ads that go “Cholesterol. It can come from … barbecued ribs and from your Grandma Barbie.… Cholesterol comes from two sources: food and family….”

Soon, however, you may stop seeing those ads, because Vytorin seems to be no better at preventing the buildup of arterial plaque than first-generation statin medications like Lipitor and Zocor or its less expensive generic, simvastatin. The results are making many nervous statin-takers wonder if their medication is actually reducing their odds of developing coronary artery disease.
I often wonder. Who watches these commercials then runs out and asks their doctor to prescribe them—nuts!
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