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Company pulls pain drug from market

After reviewing safety data on a range of anti-inflammatory drugs, the Food and Drug Administration on April 7 asked Pfizer to remove its prescription pain medication valdecoxib (Bextra) from the market. The New York City–based pharmaceutical firm subsequently ceased selling the drug both in the United States and in the European Union.

Known as a COX-2 inhibitor, Bextra belongs to the same class of drugs as rofecoxib (Vioxx), which manufacturer Merck yanked from pharmacy shelves last September after safety risks appeared (SN: 10/30/04, p. 286: Available to subscribers at COX-2 inhibitor pulled off market.).

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