Two not-so-obviously related news items from today’s Marketplace midday update:
#1) Pharmaceutical company Pfizer says it’ll change the way it markets drugs to people. The company announced this morning it will educate doctors for at least 6 months about new medicines before running television or print ads. Pfizer also says it won’t advertise male impotence drugs during the Super Bowl.
#2) Rafael Palmeiro is heading back to work after serving a 10-day suspension for using steroids. Business of sports analyst David Carter talks to Cheryl Glaser about steroids and baseball.
These stories raise the question whether Rafael’s need for the “little blue pill” is related to his use of steroids. One of the side effects listed for steroids is “increased libido,” albeit with “lowered natural production of testosterone thus effecting the male sperm count.”
In a WebMD feature, Martin Downs examines the issue, as he writes of Palmeiro’s endorsement agreement, “The deal has made people wonder whether Palmeiro really represents men with erectile dysfunction, or whether Pfizer, the company that makes Viagra, wants to persuade young men to try it for fun.” If Palmeiro’s steroid use did result in increased libido, it’s more doubtful that he had a legitimate need.
Perhaps a steroid-increased sexual appetite played a role in his VIAGRA® use. There is no doubt that Palmeiro’s baseball success, powered in part by steroid use, had some positive economic impact for him beyond his baseball stats and contracts. He became a perfect pitchman for Pfizer’s VIAGRA. (One of the suggested lines for opening dialogue with your doctor about VIAGRA used to be: “Have you seen the VIAGRA commercial with Major League Baseball Star Rafael Palmeiro?”)
And in a related story, “VIAGRA is a proud sponsor of Major League Baseball®.”