I have nothing against pharmaceutical company ads and in fact feel that they empower patients and help them decide what is best for themselves with the advice of their doctor.
However, I do have a problem with famous physicians appearing in the media hawking a particular drug. Such is the case with the Dr. Robert Jarvik’s Lipitor ads (note: I am not sure these adds are seen outside of the USA). Does the average layperson realize when they see such an ad that what Jarvik is telling them is coming from Pfizer and that he is being payed to say what he is saying?
At least with famous athletes, acting as spokesmen/spokeswomen for a product, you realize up-front that they are being used by the company to get your attention and that what they say comes from a script developed by the ad agency…I mean does anyone believe that Tiger Woods is an expert on cars, watches, sports clothes, etc…
With Jarvik you might assume that what he is saying comes from his expertise and that he has your best interest in mind. But that would be wrong since the whole idea behind advertising to advance the interest of the company.
I think most people are smart enough to see through this, which concerns me even more, since it just adds to fodder to the poor image of pharmaceutical companies that has emerged in the last decade.
P.S.I think Lipitor is a great drug since it appears to lower cholesterol to a greater extent than its predecessors. It also proves the point that there is always a need and room for improvement in existing drug classes despite being cast as “me too drugs”