Pfizer is pulling its long-running advertising campaign using the artificial heart pioneer Robert Jarvik as a spokesman for its cholesterol drug Lipitor. The campaign has come under scrutiny from a
congressional committee that is examining consumer drug advertising and has asked whether the ads misrepresented Jarvik and his credentials.
Although he has a medical degree, Jarvik is not
a cardiologist and is not licensed to practice medicine. One television ad depicts Jarvik as an accomplished rower gliding across a mountain lake, but the ad uses a body double for the doctor, who
apparently does not row.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation has rekindled a debate over so-called direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals, a $4.8 billion
business. While endorsing Pfizer's decision, the committee showed no sign of shutting down its investigation.
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