Pfizer will resume DTC advertising for its blockbuster statin drug, Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium)--but this time the pitchman isn't so famous. Pfizer took heat from federal regulators and the media when it used artificial heart inventor Robert Jarvik (not a physician) to promote Lipitor for its previous Lipitor DTC campaign. This time around Pfizer is using a “real person” who suffered a heart attack.
In the new print and television advertisements, which were set to appear the first week of September, the patient tells viewers and readers: “Talk about a wake-up call. I had a heart attack at 57. I should have been doing more for my high cholesterol. I learned the hard way.” The copy goes on to say: “Now I trust my heart to Lipitor. Talk to your doctor about your risk and about Lipitor.” The main theme of the new ad campaign is “a Lipitor heart-to-heart.”
Separately, Pfizer unveiled data from a five-year Treating to New Targets (TNT) study presented at the 2008 European Society of Cardiology Congress, that revealed in patients with established heart disease, Lipitor 80 mg not only significantly reduced the relative risk of suffering a first cardiovascular event by 19% compared to Lipitor 10 mg, but also provided a sustained reduction in the risk of a subsequent second, third, fourth and fifth cardiovascular event.
Lipitor, which had sales of $12.7 billion in 2007, will be facing stiff competition from generic versions of the drug when it looses its copyright protection in 2011.