From No Mas: Ricky Williams "was paid for his appearance on Oprah by Glaxo-SmithKline, makers of the anti-depressant Paxil. He was not paid to shill for Paxil on the program, however, and he never once mentioned the drug. No, at the time he was only paid to go on the show and tell his story as a sufferer of chronic shyness. Only later did he appear in a Paxil press release, with a caption beneath his photograph reading, 'As someone who has suffered from social anxiety disorder, I am so happy that new treatment options, like Paxil CR, are available today.'"
Williams' image really can't get worse, can it? Oprah, whose show is already a fabulous showcase for any product, is immune. And everyone hates big pharma anyway. They'll all be fine, right?
ADDED: Yeah, what was my point here? Oh yeah, just to remind myself that as irritating as pharma's direct-to-consumer advertising can be—thank you Viva Viagra!—things could be worse. Banning pharma from TV or print advertising wouldn't prevent celebrity endorsers from appearing on Oprah and in fact would only encourage more instances like it.