Pfizer pulled Lipitor ads featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik and
vowed that it is “committing to ensuring greater clarity in the roles and
responsibilities of its spokespeople in its consumer advertising and
In a Feb. 25 statement, Pfizer's Ian Read, president of
worldwide pharmaceutical operations, defended Jarvik, the campaign and DTC but
said: “Nevertheless, the way in which we presented Dr. Jarvik in these ads has,
unfortunately, led to misimpressions and distractions from our primary goal of
encouraging patient and physician dialogue on the leading cause of death in the
“Going forward, we commit to ensuring there is greater
clarity in our advertising regarding the presentation of spokespeople,” Read
said, adding that future campaigns, “to be launched in several weeks,” will
continue to stress the importance of patients talking to their doctors.
Kaplan Thaler Group handles consumer advertising on the
brand. For the first three quarters of 2007, Pfizer spent $118 million on
Lipitor DTC ads, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
The ads became the target
of a congressional investigation in January. The resulting news coverage,
including the revelations that Jarvik was promised $1.35 million for his
participation in the campaign and that a stunt double portrayed him rowing
across a lake, was embarrassing for Pfizer.