Reps. Dingell, Stupak Comment on Pfizer Decision to Pull Lipitor Ads Featuring Dr. JarvikIn Light of Committee Investigation, Pfizer Acknowledges that Ads “Created Misimpressions”
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2008 – Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today responded to news that Pfizer, Inc., is withdrawing Lipitor advertising and promotions featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik. The Committee launched an investigation into the use of celebrity endorsements of prescription medications in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising on January 7, 2007, by writing to Pfizer, Inc., regarding Dr. Jarvik’s appearance in Lipitor commercials.
“Pfizer’s decision was a wise one, and I am pleased our investigation prompted the removal of Lipitor ads featuring Dr. Jarvik,” said Dingell. “We trust that Pfizer is sincere in its commitment to ‘greater clarity’ in its advertising. My colleagues and I look forward to meeting with Pfizer’s management team to discuss their plans related to direct-to-consumer advertising.”
Pfizer’s Lipitor advertisements featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik represent the second ad campaign to be removed since the Committee began investigating DTC advertisements. Merck/Schering-Plough’s “Food and Family” television ads for Vytorin have also been pulled.
“I commend Pfizer for doing the right thing and pulling the Lipitor ads featuring Dr. Jarvik,” said Stupak. “When consumers see and hear a doctor endorsing medication, they expect the doctor is a credible individual with requisite knowledge of the drug. We will continue to investigate the deception that occurs in direct-to-consumer advertising of medications, including Pfizer’s Lipitor campaign. We plan to meet with Dr. Jarvik, collect all of the documents we’ve requested and closely review the facts. Drug companies should know that they will be held accountable for the representations made in their ads.”
Posted: February 2008