Pfizer, battling for its Lipitor drug which is now facing generic competition from simvastatin, has trotted out one-time artificial heart inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik for what have become ubiquitous TV ads. But the Wall Street Journal's health blog reports a new twist to the Dr. J story. Excerpt:
Now Congress has seen enough of Jarvik to ask Pfizer some questions about his qualifications to be recommending the cholesterol buster.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce said today that it is investigating the use of celebrity endorsements in marketing prescription drugs directly to consumers. And Jarvik is Celebrity No. 1 on the list.
â€śIn the ads, Dr. Jarvik appears to be giving medical advice, but apparently, he has never obtained a license to practice or prescribe medicine,â€? John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the committee, said in a press release.