Group Calls For 2 Arthritis Drug Bans

A pharmaceutical watchdog group called on federal regulators Monday to ban two prescription pain relief medications similar to Vioxx, saying the drugs increase the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA asking the agency to immediately remove Celebrex and Bextra from the market. Celebrex and Bextra are two arthritis drugs in a class known as Cox-2 inhibitors. According to the group, Americans filled more than 36 million prescriptions of these drugs last year. Public Citizen is a longtime critic of both the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA, and it independently warned patients more than four years ago that Celebrex was unsafe. The group said Monday that studies show that Celebrex and Bextra increase the likelihood of dangerous heart problems while offering patients little or no benefit over older pain relievers.

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