Critics say flaws in Celebrex study undermine results
NEW ORLEANS — A long-awaited study on painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world, has concluded that the three most commonly used carry a similar risk of cardiovascular complications. Yet critics say the study was too flawed to fairly compare them.
Concerns about a type of NSAID called COX-2 inhibitors peaked in 2004 when the drug Vioxx was withdrawn from the market — a decision steeped in scandal because manufacturer Merck & Co had initially hidden data that would reveal the drug’s cardiovascular risks. A second COX-2 inhibitor, Pfizer Inc.’s Celebrex, was allowed to remain on the market with the condition that Pfizer conduct a study to prove that Celebrex was no worse than two older NSAIDs, naproxen and ibuprofen.
The study lasted 10 years and enrolled more than 24,000 patients,