Lipitor has been running a series of ads in which a kindly "doctor," Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, tells viewers about the benefits of the cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor.
These ads, and their use of celebrity endorsers such as Jarvik, are now being investigated by Congress for potentially misleading viewers.
In the ads, Dr. Jarvik appears to be giving medical advice, but he has never obtained a license to practice or prescribe medicine.
Critics of the drug industry claim that such ads emotionally manipulate viewers and underemphasize the potential side effects of drugs.
The congressional probe focuses on the Lipitor ads, but will likely examine others, such as actress Sally Field‘s endorsement of the osteoporosis drug Boniva.