Tags: Pfizer | Rapped | For | New | Celebrex | Ads

Pfizer Rapped For New Celebrex Ads

Friday, 28 April 2006 12:00 AM

Pfizer Inc. is advertising Celebrex arthritis medicine again, a year after US regulators asked the company to stop consumer marketing of the drug because of its links to heart problems.

Full-page color ads in US magazines now feature an older man walking up baseball stadium stairs holding a boy's hand. The text says, "52 steps won't keep you from taking him out to the ball game." In smaller print the ad warns that the drug may raise the risk of heart attack or stroke.

" 'Public health be damned' is basically what this amounts to," said Sidney Wolfe, director of health research at Public Citizen Health Research Group, a frequent critic of drug makers. "There's no objective evidence of any unique benefit with this drug, and there is objective evidence of a unique risk."

Wolfe said the campaign is more evidence of the drug industry's dependence on consumer advertising to prop up sales, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe.

"While Celebrex has not been pulled from the market, its risk-benefit profile is controversial and I question whether advertising a drug like this to consumers is good for the public health," commented US Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat.

When it was introduced in 1998, Celebrex was thought to be safer for the stomach than older painkillers like naproxen. But Celebrex's stomach benefits have never been proven, and clinical trials have repeatedly linked the drug to heart problems. In addition, it is far more expensive than the older painkillers.

The FDA withdrew its request to suspend consumer advertising of the drug after Pfizer strengthened warnings on prescribing information to doctors.

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Pfizer Inc. is advertising Celebrex arthritis medicine again, a year after US regulators asked the company to stop consumer marketing of the drug because of its links to heart problems. Full-page color ads in US magazines now feature an older man walking up baseball...
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2006-00-28
Friday, 28 April 2006 12:00 AM
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