Pfizer Pulls Listerine Advertisement

January 11, 2005 – Posted at 5:08 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- A pharmaceutical company is spending more than $2 million dollars to replace what a judge calls misleading advertising.

Pharmacist Dr. Brandon Cooper said, "The drug companies really aren't helping themselves these days with that public mistrust."

A judge ruled last Friday that the company Pfizer has marketed Listerine under false advertisement.

"Listerine is good to help, but I don't think you can actually say now that it can replace good dental hygiene such as flossing," said Dr. Cooper.

Pfizer claims Listerine is clinically proven to be as effective as floss, but the data supporting that statement may be skewed.

"One of the studies that they sponsored was through the American Dental Association, the ADA, but it was actually sponsored by Pfizer," said Dr. Cooper, "A lot of the problems come when you have the drug companies sponsoring their own studies to prove what ever they want to get out into the public."

Pfizer plans to deploy more than 4000 workers to put stickers over the claim that Listerine is as effective as flossing. But dentist Dr. Joe Spade says Listerine isn't a bad product.

"It can be used effectively with brushing and flossing, but not just used to replace flossing," said Dr. Spade. And if you're not flossing now, it's a good time to start.

"You will eventually build up plaque which will cause tooth decay. It can also cause inflammation in the gums, and eventually gum disease," said Dr. Spade.

"People need to make sure they get their yearly, or bi-annual checkups with their dentist to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing," said Dr. Cooper.

Don't be surprised if you still see some ads for Listerine on TV. A spokesperson for Pfizer says some ads have been embedded in syndicated television shows that have already been sent out for airing.