Two years ago I took a routine cardiopulmonary stress test.  I was 37.  And I “failed” it. 

Hooked up to electrodes I jogged on a treadmill.  And the rhythm of my heart alerted the specialist to a slight, possible abnormality.

The next day, I lay on a table like a pregnant woman, undergoing an examination similar to an ultrasound.  A day later, my heart set off an alarm during a CT scan when my resting rate dropped to 36 beats per minute.

But what do you think these tests revealed?  Nothing.  They couldn’t find anything wrong with my heart.  I was perfectly normal.  But the specialist, who coupled as a pharmacist, prescribed Lipitor to eradicate any soft plaque that I may have had.

Lipitor is Pfizer’s biggest selling drug.  Pfizer—the world’s largest pharmaceutical company– had sales exceeding $45 billion last year,  (Pfizer -Valueline  – report requires a pdf reader)  with Lipitor leading the way.  It’s supposed to reduce a patient’s cholesterol levels—of which mine were in a healthy, normal range.

I sat down on the chair in the specialist’s waiting room and leaned back on a pillow labeled “Pfizer”. 

When the paperwork was ready, I accepted the drugs, and signed a form with a pen labeled “Pfizer”. 

After I promised to keep exercising I left.  But I didn’t want to take Lipitor.  As far as anyone could tell my heart was perfectly fine.  So I didn’t take it. And I get a decent amount of exercise.

As an owner of Pfizer shares, I was somewhat embarrassed to think of the marketing “bribery” that I suspected went far beyond pens and pillows.  Why would a specialist prescribe drugs to a healthy guy?

I’ll never know for sure, but pillows, pens, and this article definitely have me thinking.

Read the Article: Pfizer to Pay Record Penalty