Crew Cut

  • by: |
  • 02/07/2008
Page One story in today's New York Times on the continuing saga on Dr. Robert Jarvik and whether or not he can scull.

According to the story, "A newsletter published by the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle describes how one of its rowers was a stunt double in the ad for Dr. Jarvik. The sculler, a professional photographer and rowing enthusiast named Dennis Williams, was picked partly for his size and partly because, like Dr. Jarvik, he has a receding hairline, according to the newsletter, which said a crew filmed the commercial for three days at Lake Crescent, near Port Angeles, Wash.

In the ad, Mr. Williams was shown as a solitary sculler navigating an unspoiled lake. Through deft editing, he appeared to be Dr. Jarvik. But, in fact, the frames that actually included Dr. Jarvik were shot in a rowing apparatus on a platform, according to the newsletter."

Yes, friends, it's "CrewGate."

Here's a link to the complete story:

And here's what Dr. Jarvik had to say for himself, "I accepted the role of spokesman for Lipitor because I am dedicated to the battle against heart disease, which killed my father at age 62 and motivated me to become a medical doctor,” it said. “I believe the process of educating the public is beneficial to many patients, and I am pleased to be part of an effort to reach them.”

Yes, he's a real medical hero -- but he can't scull.

As to why the ad chose to make it look at though he could may be of interest to some -- but is it relevant? Obviously DDMAC didn't seem to think so.

And as far as "All the news that's fit to print," the article didn't point out that DTC advertising drives patients to ask their doctors about important health questions -- like high cholesterol, one of our nation's most under-diagnosed chronic diseases.

Also absent from the article is FDA research that disproves the myth that physicians prescribe a medicine just because a patient saw an ad on television. They don't. And of patients who visited their doctors because of an ad they saw and who asked about that prescription drug by brand name, 88 percent actually had the condition treated by the drug.

According to that same study, in 6 percent of DTC-generated office visits, a previously undiagnosed condition was discovered. Why is this so important? Because earlier detection combined with appropriate treatment means that more people will live longer, healthier, more productive lives without having to confront riskier, more costly medical interventions later on.

Coincidentally, the one word that links both hyperlipidaemia and sculling is ... stroke!

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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