Pfizer wins decision in key Celebrex case

NEW YORK Pfizer announced Thursday that a New York state court ruled in favor of the company on an important motion relating to litigation over the company’s anti-inflammatory medication, Celebrex. New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled that the plaintiffs suing Pfizer in New York failed to present reliable scientific evidence necessary to prove that Celebrex can cause heart attacks and strokes at 200 mg daily – the most commonly prescribed dosage of the Pfizer pain medication.

The ruling follows a similar decision in November 2007 by the U.S. District Court of Northern California in the Celebrex multi-district federal litigation. In the federal court decision, the Court held there are “no randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses of such trials or meta-analyses of observational studies that find an association between Celebrex 200 mg/day and a risk of heart attack or stroke.” 

Together, the two decisions render certain expert opinions inadmissible, which Pfizer says could result in the dismissal of other Celebrex cases. The majority of the Celebrex cases are pending in the two courts that issued the decisions.

Food and Drug Administration advisory committee hearings in 2005 concluded that the benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including Celebrex, outweigh its cardiovascular risks for appropriate patients at approved doses, and thus remained on the market.

“We are pleased with Justice Kornreich’s decision which, like the federal court decision, recognizes the lack of any credible evidence linking Celebrex, at its most common dosage form, with heart attacks or strokes,” said Pfizer general counsel Allen Waxman. “We believe that these rulings will greatly limit the scope of this litigation, and we intend to continue to vigorously defend the cases against us.” 

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