Vioxx, Celebrex Furor Tops Health News For 2004

For years, Americans turned to the blockbuster drugs Vioxx and Celebrex for relief from chronic pain. But as 2004 ends, Vioxx is no longer on the market and the future of Celebrex remains unclear. The tattered reputation of the cox-2 inhibitor class of analgesics not only left millions without their preferred method of pain relief, it also prompted criticism of the role -- even the integrity -- of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, making the drug debacle the year's top health news story. Other stories vied for that top spot, however -- this fall's flu vaccine shortage, an impassioned election-year debate over stem cell research, and new warnings from the FDA on heightened suicide risks in children taking antidepressants. Here are the Top 10 health stories for 2004, as determined by HealthDay editors:

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