Sperm Daddy Author Lectures Artificial Heart Inventor on Ethics

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  • 01/16/2008
As Mark Twain -- an author of choice here at drugwonks -- once said: "Presume you were an idiot. Then presume you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Can any be so stupid and petty as to quibble about having the inventor of the artificial heart promoting as important a drug as Lipitor?

Apparently Bart Stupak and John Dingell think it rises to a high enough crime to demand a congressional investigation. And Katie Watson of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program at Northwestern University agrees: "To have a celebrity physician associated with cardiac health telling me I need Lipitor and when it costs significantly more than a generic alternative that might be appropriate for me— that's a physician motivated by a paycheck, not by patient health."

Let it be noted that Ms. Watson is famous for her lecture "Playing Doctor: Improvisational Theater & the Medical Encounter" which was presented at the Searle Seminar Room in the Medical Humanites and Bioethics building. That's Searle, as in the drug company, better known as Pharmacia which is now part of...you guessed it...Pfizer.

But I digress. So apparently it is unethical to have a famous doctor who does not practice medicine promoting a brand drug that works. It is ethical to have someone playing doctor promote a generic drug that doesn't? Or how about a Nobel Prize Winner who is no longer licensed promoting a new drug? And how does Ms. Watson know if the Nobel Prize winner is motivated by a paycheck and not patient health? Is it wrong to accept a paycheck in the process of advancing patient care by being a spokesperson.

Back to Ms. Watson. " Katie is also the author of the screenplay Sperm Daddy, and a contributor to the TimeOut Chicago humor back page and the WBEZ news magazine 848." I wonder if she is motivated by a paycheck or patient health?


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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