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Jarvik Defends Role In Pfizer Ads

  • NJ.com, Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:30 AM
Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the artificial heart, is defending his role in an ad campaign for Pfizer's Lipitor that was yanked from the air as the result of a congressional probe into whether it was misleading. Jarvik had appeared in the spots as a doctor offering medical advice. While he did attend med school, he isn't actually licensed to practice medicine.
"I assure the public, from the bottom of my heart, that I have been sincere and honest in my role as Lipitor spokesman," Jarvik says. He adds that the campaign "fairly represents me as a world-recognized heart expert."

Pfizer says it will launch a new ad campaign in the coming weeks, but the Lipitor flap comes at a bad time for the world's largest drug maker as the cholesterol-buster accounts for as much as 40 percent of Pfizer's profits and was positioned to recapture market share from rival Vytorin. Barbara Ryan, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, says Pfizer has an opening to strike back at competing drugs with an appealing ad.

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