Pfizer agrees to pay $745 million to settle claims relating to Bextra and Celebrex
Bloomberg News reported on October 21 that Pfizer agreed to settle more than 90 percent of the 8,000 lawsuits claiming that Bextra or Celebrex contributed to a patient's heart attack or stroke. The claims are similar to the Vioxx-based claims that resulted in the latter pain killer being pulled from the market. Pfizer also agreed "in principle" to pay $60 million to 33 states and the federal governement over alleged illegal promotion of Bextra and $89 million dollars to settle consumer fraud lawsuits. It is believed that the settlements were prompted, in part, by a Federal judge's ruling that there was insufficent scientific evidence to document Celebrex as a "causal factor" in these clotting events, when taken in a 200 mg dose. Celebrex remains on the market and generates more than 2 billion dollars in annnual sales for Pfizer. According to a study presented at the March meeting of the American College of Cardiology, taking a 400 mg dose of Celebrex triples the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.