Last week, Pfizer Inc. voluntarily pulled its direct response TV ads for its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor.
The pharmaceutical company had recently been under scrutiny, specifically from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which claimed the advertisements that feature Dr. Robert Jarvik were misleading consumers.
“Unfortunately, the way Dr. Jarvik was presented in these ads has created misimpressions and distractions from our primary goal of encouraging patient and physician dialogue on cardiovascular disease,” wrote Anthony J. Principi, SVP of Pfizer, in a letter to the committee chairmen, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). “Pfizer is committed to greater clarity in our advertising regarding use of spokespeople.”
According to Vanessa Aristide, director of corporate media relations at Pfizer, the company worked with Kaplan Thaler Group on the ads, and Pfizer is continuing to work with the agency on a new advertising campaign for the drug. Kaplan declined to comment on the spots, deferring to Pfizer.
In a statement, Dingell commended Pfizer for its decision to pull the spot. “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,” he said.
This is the second ad campaign to be removed since the committee began investigating DTC advertisements, after Merck/Schering-Plough’s “Food and Family” ads for the drug Vytorin.