Our sister publication Consumer Reports Health has posted a new video in their AdWatch series, which examines direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. This time they’re examining some “stealth” advertising for the quit-smoking drug Chantix.
Lipitor-shilling drug maker Pfizer has announced that they will be buying rival Wyeth for $68 billion. [WSJ Health Blog]
Tired of your kids asking you what “erectile dysfunction” is? You’re not alone.
Well, it seems that Pfizer is ready to move on from that embarrassing “Dr. Jarvik is not actually licensed to practice medicine” kerfuffle back in February. The company pulled its Lipitor spots after Congress became very interested in whether or not the ads were misleading the public into believing that Dr. Jarvik was qualified to offer medical advice — and that he was really rowing that boat. Now, theWall Street Journal has a tantalizing preview of the new “Dr. Jarvik Free” Lipitor ad. The spot features a regular person named John — a heart attack survivor who urges you to learn from his example and be more proactive about controlling your cholesterol (with Lipitor, damn it! Lipitor!).
Pfizer hires stunt doubles to row for their not-a-physician (former) pitchman Dr. Robert Jarvik and this severely upsets Congress. They also don’t want you to use cheaper generics. And produce potentially misleading and sketchy commercials about Celebrex. And they also make car sick medicine for dogs.
Weary of all the “fake rowing” controversy, Pfizer has canned Dr. Robert Jarvik (the inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart) as a spokesperson for their blockbuster cholesterol drug, Lipitor.
Dr. Robert Jarvik is the inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart, right? You know that because he’s the pitch-man for Lipitor, a heavily advertised cholesterol drug. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why inventing an artificial heart qualifies the man to pitch a drug?
Pfizer is in panic mode about its rapid decline in Lipitor sales—in the last 18 months, it has dropped from 40% of the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs to 30%, and likely to drop further—so it’s launched a big media-blitz to convince people not to switch to simvastatin, the generic version of its name-brand competitor, Zocor. Zocor was more expensive than Lipitor, so Pfizer had nothing to worry about for years—but then Zocor lost its patent protection last year, and now doctors are switching patients from Lipitor over to Zocor’s generic twin to save money.
A new ad for Celebrex, a prescription painkiller related to Vioxx, has come under fire for implying that Celebrex is as safe as non-prescription painkillers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve.) A consumer group has written a letter to the FDA requesting that they ban the ad, claiming that it contains “false or misleading statements.”
“The overall purpose of the ad is to make it appear, contrary to scientific evidence, that the cardiovascular dangers of Celebrex are not greater than those of any of the other Nsaid painkillers,” the letter said, referring to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. “Further, it asserts that certain gastrointestinal problems are, if anything, less frequent with Celebrex than with two popular over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers.”
The ad, which is two-and-a-half minutes long (Pfizer was the only sponsor of the program on which it aired), can be viewed at Celebrex.com. The ad marks Celebrex’s return to advertising after a two year hiatus following Vioxx’s withdrawal from the market due to dangerous cardiovascular side-effects.
- An AIDS organization sued Pfizer Inc. on Monday over ads the group says encourage use of Viagra as a party drug. The group said recreational use of the drug furthers the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
That’s right, Pfizer, of Viagra-fame has set its sights on a different illness, schizophrenia. “Researchers at Pfizer are using insights into Viagra to design experimental drugs that may improve on Zyprexa, the best- selling schizophrenia remedy from Eli Lilly & Co., with $4.2 billion in sales last year.”
• Minions of Cinderfella? [New Orleans City Business] “Transvestite crime gangs pester Magazine Street owners”
You might remember last month’s Wal-Mart blogging scandal, in which it came to light that Wal-Mart was feeding information to bloggers. Many bloggers were posting the propaganda wholesale without attributing the (obviously) subjective source. Slimy MSM toads chortled as a chink in blogging’s armor appeared: why, mainstream media is objective. They’d never betray the precious sanctity of their journalistic integrity, as holy and binding as stone tablets handed down from YHWH. They would never simply ejaculate PR propaganda into our faces wholesale — they were better than that.