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