Hyping Heart Attacks

Alan Cassels notes that disease mongering advertisements for cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as for Pfizer's Lipitor, hype the risk of heart attacks for those people with 'high' cholesterol. Aside from camouflaging 'disease awareness' campaigns behind the name of a patient group, Cassels warns that when scientists have analysed the results of a number of studies on a drug "they inevitably find that the drugs show no difference in mortality, when compared against placebo." One Pfizer ad, under an image of a corpse with a toe tag, asked “what would you rather have, a cholesterol test or a final exam?” "What you don’t get in the ads scaring you to see your doc for a cholesterol test," writes Cassels, "is any sense of the dangers these kinds of drugs pose." PR Week reports (sub req'd) that Pfizer has recently awarded the global PR account for promoting Lipitor to Weber Shandwick.