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Pfizer Disputes New Zealand Celebrex Heart Attack Link Study - Merck & Co Wins Second Vioxx Lawsuit

March 2nd 2006

Pfizer Disputes New Zealand Celebrex Heart Attack Link Study - Merck & Co Wins Second Vioxx Lawsuit


A New Zealand study found that People taking Celebrex were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as those using other pain relief treatments.  A similar drug, Merck & Company’s Vioxx, had been removed from the market in September 2004 because of safety concerns. 

The research, conducted by the New Zealand Medical Research Institute, entailed reviewing six studies of 12,780 patients.  The researchers wanted to determine if the problems associated with Vioxx were also associated with Celebrex. 

Both Vioxx and Celebrex are cox-2 inhibitors, commonly prescribed for treating arthritis pain.  The study found that there was a 1.88-fold increased risk of heart attack with Celebrex, compared with the other arthritis treatments. 


The Institutes director, Richard Beasley said “These findings are critical” because Celebrex's risk is similar in magnitude to Vioxx's risk, according to ABC News.  Beasley is urging a re-evaluation of the regulations.  The news agency reported that Beasley said "Given the popularity of celecoxib (Celebrex) in the treatment of arthritis … drug regulatory authorities need to urgently re-examine the assessment of the drug in light of these findings."  

Mark Crotty, the New Zealand Pfizer General Manager, said the findings were “extremely misleading".  Mr. Crotty pointed out that the researchers picked only 6 studies out of 48 available on the subject. 


Bloomberg reported on February 17th that a federal jury ruled Merck & Company wasn’t to blame for a Florida man’s fatal heart attack.  This was the second victory by the company over the claims that Vioxx was associated with heart attacks. According to Bloomberg “A loss might have increased pressure on Merck, the third- largest U.S. drugmaker, to settle Vioxx cases to avoid costly verdicts.”  Merck is currently facing 9,650 lawsuits, and billions of dollars in potential liability over Vioxx. 

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By Dan Wilson
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM