If you see someone spending a bit too much time in the dental care aisle of your local drugstore, it’s probably either someone who believed Listerine’s ad claims that using the mouthwash is as “effective as floss at reducing plaque and gingivitis” and is now looking for a way to remedy the damage done to his or her rotting mouth—or is one of 4000 Pfizer employees who have been deployed nationwide to put stickers over what U.S. District Judge Denny Chin of New York ruled last week are misleading claims that pose a “public health risk.” (Wow, that sounds more serious than Pfizer’s November FDA hand-slapping over some Viagra ads that didn’t mention the drug was for erectile dysfunction. Who knew?)
You may have read that Pfizer has pulled advertising making what the judge deemed a false claim after Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC filed a lawsuit arguing Pfizer’s advertising threatens its sales of dental floss. The judge noted that 87 percent of consumers floss infrequently or not at all, a frightening statistic that Pfizer may have been counting on for increasing its mouthwash sales. But if laziness prevailed, and some consumers decided to take an ad’s word over their own dentist’s, maybe they deserve to lose their teeth.
—Posted by Eleftheria Parpis
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