...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Robert Jarvik pitches LIpitor on TV?

UPDATE: 2/26/08: Yesterday, 2/25/08, Pfizer announced it was cancelling the two-year multimillion dollar advertising campaign featuring Robert Jarvik. Thanks for all your interest in my posts on this subject over the last two years. To get a fine wrapup of this story, go to Time.com.

What ever happened to Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart? I'd have gone years more without knowing, if it hadn't been for the new Lipitor commercials.

Dr. Jarvik appears in the new one--rowing a kayak over pristine waters, perhaps in Alaska. He also presents the commercial's message on the dangers of high cholesterol, and recommends, of course, that you ask your doctor if Lipitor is right for you. [CORRECTION: Not a "kayak," a rowing scull. Thanks to J. Sprouse for the catch. See Comments. DN]

Why did Pfizer choose Jarvik as Lipitor spokesperson (Hmm, Pfizer again)? Other than the obvious cardiac connection, there's no sign. He's known for last-chance heart technology. Lipitor is supposed to help keep heart disease from getting that far.

So, are Jarvik's pals at Pfizer giving him a profile-raising at a time when his company, headquartered in that noted mecca of medical research, Manhattan, nears the public investment entry level? Is Pfizer interested in buying his company? Was putting him on TV Pfizer's president's wife's idea? Stranger things have happened. What have you heard? Feel free to comment, and let's keep our eyes on this one.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave, next time please check your facts: Jarvik is *NOT* the inventor of the artificial heart:

http://www.accuracyproject.org/cme-theartificialheart.html

DAVE NEWTON said...

Dear Anonymous:

Thanks for caring enough to comment, and thanks for the accuracyproject link. Please note, however: what I wrote was that Dr. Jarvik was the "inventor of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart." (Emphasis mine.) I'm aware Jarvik wasn't the first to assemble a heart-lung device, or test one. I knew Paul Winchell was an inventor with lots of patents, but I didn't know he designed the first artificial heart. Thanks for the heads-up, but I don't think I'm guilty as charged. If you're objecting to the characterization of Jarvik as an "inventor" in the same sentence with "artificial heart," you may have a point. I didn't intend to imply he was the first, but I didn't dig deep enough to address that issue. I was more focused on Pfizer's marketing hokum at Dr. Jarvik's expense, and, I'm sure, to his benefit. Thanks for the help, though. Good catch.

Dave Newton

Anonymous said...

Dave,

That's not a kayak. It's a competition rowing scull - probably a Pocock. A good cardiac workout, try it.

J. Sprouse
Philadelphia, PA

DAVE NEWTON said...

Sorry, J. Sprouse. Sloppy of me. I'm fixing it and crediting you.

While I'm at it, I've sine realized what Mr. Anonymous was so exercised about -- it's the Lipitor commercial itself that identifies Jarvik as "inventor of the artificial heart." Go get 'em, Anon. Not a credit to Dr. Jarvik that he didn't head that one off. If you know how commercials get made, you know that even stupid mistakes are not accidental. They probably decided Paul Winchell isn't around to object, so what the hey? Accuracy in marketing is a function of whether it adds to the sell.

Dave

Dr. Dan said...

Dave,

Your response to the know it all's allegations was refreshing. Your reply to his inaccurate allegation of inaccuracy was perfect. It's refreshing to see such poise and character.

Dr. Dan Martin

DAVE NEWTON said...

Aw, shucks, Doc, thanks. You're welcome to drop by my blog for refreshment any time.

Dave

Seattle Sculler said...

Actually it's not a rowing scull, it's a rowing shell. A "scull" is an oar used in sculling.

There's something creepy about Mr. Jarvik... I agree he should not have let that mega-corporation make such a blatant "mistake" of calling him the inventor of the artificial heart! He appears to be a man with few ethical boundaries.

Anonymous said...

As a medical professional and rower, I am happy Jarvik has been exposed as having a body double.
I would been disappointed if a rower had sold out to the drug companies.
If more of us rowed there would be less lipitor sold as jarvik no doubt is aware.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly. "Dr." Jarvik never completed a residency and does not have a license to practice medicine.

DAVE NEWTON said...

In the comment above, an anonymous writer says Robert Jarvik has no license to practice medicine. I let this comment on the site because I looked at Wikipedia, and the Jarvik entry there confirmed this assertion. But, wondering about it, I looked again later, and the assertion was no longer there on Wikipedia. So, at this moment, we don't know whether it's true or not. Wikipedia, being an open encyclopedia, is subject to editing by anybody, and thus frequent unfounded assertions. I haven't found an authoritative source. I do believe it's accepted fact that Dr. Jarvik earned an MD at the University of Utah. For more, look him up on http://www.Answers.com. I'll keep looking, and probably post on the subject soon. Dave

Anonymous said...

The lack of a residency and medical license is quoted in the following link.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16039753/

Anonymous said...

I wondered why the inventor of the Jarvik 7 should need to do a Lipitor commercial at all.
I figured that it must be the result of a divorce.
I am waiting to here a country music composition called "The Day That She Stole Dr. Jarvik's Heart."
I am sure somone has that in the works.

Anonymous said...

Anon. is correct. Dr. Robert Jarvik does not have the ability to even prescribe the medication that he is promoting. As to the other comment about an imposing country song, I would love to hear the lyrics to "The Day That She Stole Dr. Jarvik's Heart." I am assuming that the "she" is his current excuse for a wife, Ms. Vos Savant