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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Jarvik plot thickens.

Here's a link to ABC's Jarvik-Lipitor story, complete with video from Good Morning America, on which Robert Jarvik, Pfizer's sorta-doc spokesman for its anti-cholesterol drug, showed up and submitted to a gentle thrashing from Diane Sawyer last week. How many years has it taken for somebody in Congress, or anywhere, to get itchy enough with the idea of an apparent MD endorsing a particular drug on TV? Of course, the story behind the story is that Lipitor is slipping; has been since Zocor went generic, as the New York Times reported last November. See, the Zocor generic is much cheaper than Lipitor, which has its patent until 2010, and insurance companies and docs are switching patients to the cheaper drug, which is, by all accounts, just as effective. One little fact reintroduced in all this coverage: only the U.S. and New Zealand allow direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising. We really need this debate, seriously conducted: is free enterprise always good for our health?

UPDATE 1949 hours 012208: Required reading: a nytimes.com health blog fills us in on the recent Zetia flap. Link.

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