Group Renews Call For Ban On Celebrex

More evidence has linked painkiller Celebrex to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, consumer group Public Citizen said on Monday as it renewed calls for the government to ban Pfizer Inc. from selling Celebrex and arthritis drug Bextra. A study testing Celebrex for use in Alzheimer's patients found a "statistically significant difference" in cardiovascular adverse events between patients taking the drug and those taking a placebo, according to results posted on the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Web site last week. Public Citizen said Celebrex raised the risk of serious cardiovascular events to 3.6 times that of a placebo. Last December, a different study linked Celebrex to increased cardiovascular problems, but the company said it would continue to market the drug. Pfizer's president of worldwide development, Dr. Joseph Feczko, said the results revealed in the December study were not consistent with a "large body of data" that the company had collected. The results posted on the trade group web site were from a study completed in 1999. Celebrex and Bextra are the only cox-2 inhibitor painkillers left on the market since Merck & Co. removed Vioxx last September after a study found it doubled patients risk of heart attack and strokes. Bextra has also been linked to increase risk of cardiovascular problems. Next month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) is holding a hearing on the safety of cox-2 inhibitors and has already suggested doctors consider alternatives to prescribing Celebrex.

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