The use of famous people to promote medical products in consumer advertising is facing scrutiny by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The committee's initial focus is on the appearance of Robert Jarvik, MD, in commercials for Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), manufactured by Pfizer Inc, New York City. Jarvik rose to fame as one of the developers of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart.
“We are concerned that consumers might be misled by Pfizer's television ads for Lipitor starring Dr Jarvik,” said Committee Chairman Rep John D. Dingell (D, Mich) in a January 7 release. “In the ads, Dr Jarvik appears to be giving medical advice, but apparently,
he has never obtained a license to practice or prescribe medicine.”