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Published on 11 January 2008

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Pfizer wins legal fight on Celebrex

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Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has won a court ruling over its arthritis treatment Celebrex (celecoxib).

New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich found that plaintiffs suing the company in the state failed to present reliable scientific evidence proving the medication can cause heart attacks and strokes at 200mg doses.

She said that “with regard to Celebrex at 200mg/daily, the scientific evidence, whether for a heart attack or stroke, is just not there”.

The ruling follows a similar decision in a Californian federal court, and the company believes it means some certain expert opinions are now inadmissible, which it hopes will result in many Celebrex cases being thrown out.

The firm is facing numerous lawsuits after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held hearings in 2005 on the cardiovascular risk of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), including Celebrex.

But the regulator decided the medicine’s benefits outweigh the risks, and it has remained on the market since it first became available to patients in 1999.

Pfizer general counsel Allen Waxman said: “We are pleased with Justice Kornreich’s decision which, like the federal court decision, recognises the lack of any credible evidence linking Celebrex, at its most common dosage form, with heart attacks or strokes.

“We believe that these rulings will greatly limit the scope of this litigation, and we intend to continue to vigorously defend the cases against us.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Pfizer

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