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Pfizer Accused of “Cherry-Picking” Celebrex Safety Data

June 25, 2012 — The New York Times reports that an ongoing securities fraud lawsuit against Pfizer has revealed striking evidence that research executives intentionally misrepresented study data to mislead the medical community about the effectiveness of Celebrex, a popular anti-arthritis drug. In a one-year study, Celebrex was shown to be no more effective or safer than other common anti-arthritis drugs, such as ibuprofen. However, the six-month data from the same trial showed that Celebrex was safer on the stomach. Using just the six-month study data, research chiefs promoted Celebrex as a superior arthritis medication because it was easier on the stomach.

After a popular medical conference decided to feature a study claiming that Celebrex was safer on the stomach, one researcher sent an email to a colleague that said “They swallowed our story, hook, line and sinker.”

The documents in the case were revealed in 2000. Since then, they have provided evidence that Pfizer officials used calculated, strategic decisions to make the data on Celebrex look better. One employee wrote “Worse case: we have to attack the trial design if we do not see the results we want.” However, there was also criticism within the company. An associate medical director called the practice “data massage,” while another medical director at Pfizer criticized it as “cherry-picking the data.”

The employees whose quotes were published by the Times deny that they were referring to the Celebrex scandal. In other cases, Pfizer officials have declined to comment on behalf of the quoted employees.

Celebrex is one of Pfizer’s most popular and profitable drugs, despite remaining questions about its safety. It is the only COX-2 inhibitor pain drug still on the U.S. market, after Vioxx and Bextra were withdrawn in 2004 and 2005. Although the FDA has asked Pfizer to conduct a safety study regarding the effect of Celebrex on the heart, Pfizer has spent nearly six years on the study. The safety study is not scheduled to be completed until 2014, just before the patent on Celebrex expires.

Although Pfizer denies any intent to deceive, the full results of the Celebrex study were not revealed until the FDA released them in 2001. This data led to several reforms and lawsuits.

Do I have a Celebrex Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Celebrex induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by Celebrex, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Celebrex Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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