FDA Opens Hearing On Arthritis Drug

The Food and Drug Administration promised prompt action Wednesday on recommendations from advisory committees probing the safety of popular painkillers, but urged the advisers to balance the risks and benefits of the drugs. Vioxx was pulled from the market Sept. 30 after a long-term clinical trial indicated some patients suffered heart attacks or strokes. Similar safety questions have risen concerning the related drugs Celebrex and Bextra. The advisory committees are hearing from government officials, physicians, researchers and the public in three days of meetings before voting on recommendations for these prescription drugs, known as Cox-2 inhibitors.

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