New Lipitor Ads Mercifully Free Of Fake Doctors

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!).

“When we did testing with consumers, what we found out was John really resonated with them,” said Jim Sage, senior director and leader of the Lipitor marketing team at Pfizer.

The Wall Street Journal describes the commercial as “visually similar to some of the Jarvik ads, in that it shows Mr. Erlendson in an outdoorsy setting, biking and picnicking by the water with his wife and son — a notable ad with Mr. Jarvik showed a body double rowing a racing scull across a lake.”

Rather than impress you with his resume (John is actually a talent agent, if you must know), the new Lipitor pitchman encourages you to be smarter than he was. Silly, John. He tried to control his cholesterol with diet and exercise. What was he thinking?:

“Talk about a wake-up call. I had a heart attack at 57,” Mr. Erlendson says in the commercial’s opening, in which he’s filmed in close-up and black-and-white. “My doctor told me I should have been doing more for my high cholesterol. What was I thinking? But now I trust my heart to Lipitor.”

Pfizer Brings Back Lipitor Ads — Without Robert Jarvik
[WSJ Health Blog]
Pfizer Drops Celebrity Pitch in New Lipitor Spots [WSJ via Gawker]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Zeniq says:

    “…What was I thinking? But now I trust my heart to Lipitor.”

    Lipitor: because you’re an idiot if you think you can handle your own health without drugs!

  2. snowburnt says:

    Lipitor: we reduce your cholestorol but make whatever cholesterol remains extremely sticky thus not reducing your risk of a heart attack at all!

  3. starrion says:

    My dad began eating oatmeal with walnuts and raisins for breakfast everyday. Within 3 months his cholesterol had dropped by 43 points and he was able to dump his prescriptions- including Lipitor.


  4. chrisjames says:

    Do these magic pills safeguard against vampire attacks, too? Then I’ll buy some.

  5. ludwigk says:

    Dr. Jarvik isn’t a fake doctor. He’s a real doctor, and a medical researcher. He has an M.D, and helped develop the Jarvik-7 artificial heart.

    • floraposte says:

      @ludwigk: He’s not licensed to practice medicine, though, and he’s not a cardiologist. So it’s pushing it to position somebody who can’t practice and who doesn’t work in this field as the expert audiences should listen to, and Pfizer discovered that people didn’t like their pushing it.

  6. redhelix says:

    What’s really embarassing is that this “regular person John” is less qualified to talk about Lipitor’s effects on the human heart than Dr. Jarvik

    I still maintain that a lot of that brouhaha over Jarvik’s endorsement of Lipitor stems from a gross level of stupidity in the general public, in that they don’t understand that an inventor of a medical apparatus as complex as an artificial heart is just as – if not more – qualified to discuss human biology than a heart surgeon

  7. brandymb says:

    Took Lipitor for 10 years. My muscles got so damn weak I could hardly get up.. and everything else hurt. Quit that stuff and am now on a low dose of Cresator. Feel great.

  8. Aesteval says:

    Lipitor is the DEVIL!!!111

    Seriously, personal experience here. Three months of Lipitor equated
    to three months of perpetual exhaustion, loss of muscle mass, and
    increase of weight due to increased intake of nutrition to counter the
    exhaustion. All this from a high priced brand name drug that probably
    has adequately comparable results from other generics.

  9. Phexerian says:

    Atorvastatin (Lipitor) is actually a pretty good drug. It lowers mortality and lowers cholesterol pretty well. The trials with it didn’t use surrogate end points unlike some of the studies with crestor and zocor. The muscle weakness and pain is the myopathy. It happens in a few people. And many of those people switch to another statin or change the dose and windup doing just fine. I would honestly take Lipitor over Crestor or Zocor anyday if I had insurance and could afford it. If not, zocor is probably the best bet then.

    People are getting tired of the DTC (direct to consumer advertising). Honestly, drug companies pump money into this and into drug reps. It winds up increasing the price of drugs to pay for the advertising. Not to mention, many of them are shady and written to push the consumer onto the physician about a drug. I’m sure many physicians are sick of drug companies trying to influence their prescribing practices. Then again, many of them don’t mind it and love the free lunches that they get from drug reps.

    The process to get these commercials aired, is the drug companies hire some schmuck advertising idiots, to make a commercial about the drug. They make the commercial and design it poorly so you can’t hear or understand the side effects or make a huge visual presentation during the side effects part which drags your attention away to the fun filled activities and music instead of what is important. One or two people at the FDA have to approve the commercial. When the FDA says, we aren’t going to approve of this commercial for so and so reasons, they drug company and about 5-10 lawyers meet with the persons at the FDA to argue it and threaten them etc… Eventually they come to an agreement on how to change the commercial and re-submit it. The drug companies basically bully around the FDA to a degree. This is the process that was described to me by one of the former employees of the FDA who did the approving of the advertising.

    In all honestly, the FDA needs to regulate DTC quite a bit more, or ban it altogether. It has started to get out of control.

    -3rd Year PharmD / MBA Candidate