Pfizer, the world's biggest producer of pharmaceuticals, has come under scrutiny in connection with its controversial ads for Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug. The ads, which feature an endorsement by Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, have been criticized as misleading and unethical. Jarvik, for example, is not licensed to practice medicine and was not taking Lipitor at the time the ads were shot. Jarvik, who was paid $1.35m for his role, also admitted that the ads feature a body double, not him, rowing across a lake.
The House committee on energy and commerce is demanding answers from Pfizer regarding the nature of its contract with Jarvik. The Lipitor incident has also reawakened controversy over whether ads for prescription drugs ought to be screened before being broadcast.