Too many smokers are quitting on their own – so Pfizer pays doctors to plug their Nicorette gum

 To celebrate the launch of its new Ice Mint coated nicotine gum a few years ago, Pfizer Canada hired “brand ambassadors” dressed in ski suits to give out free samples in Calgary and Toronto. The company’s press release declared:

“The new formulation of Nicorette gum is another option for smokers who want to free themselves from tobacco dependence. Quitting smoking is a difficult addiction to overcome. People who quit smoking may suffer severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms; however, using Nicorette Ice Mint Coated Gum can help smokers quit by reducing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms and significantly improve their chances to quit smoking.”

Sounds pretty straightforward, except that the pitch isn’t attributed to the Pfizer PR firm, but to a physician, Dr. Rob Weinberg  – a doctor who was paid by Pfizer for participating in drug promotion. He is a family practice physician in Toronto.  Continue reading