Celebrex Fraud Docs Reveal Deception at Pfizer

Arthritis drug-maker was 'cherry-picking' data, says employee

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2012 1:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge has unsealed documents in a long-running fraud case against Pfizer, maker of the arthritis drug Celebrex—and selected quotes are none too pretty. "They swallowed our story, hook, line and sinker," wrote a research director at Pfizer, which had said Celebrex was safer for the stomach than other arthritis drugs. But Pfizer was only using data from 6 months of a yearlong study. The drug giant was "cherry-picking the data," said a company medical director.

Pfizer defends its actions, saying many participants dropped out of the study and biased later results, the New York Times reports. Whatever the case, several pension funds filed the current lawsuit in 2003, arguing that revelations about the flawed study hurt stock values. Meanwhile, Pfizer's critics say the company is dawdling on research into Celebrex's heart risks, because so much is at stake: The drug is a bestseller, banking more than $2.5 billion in 2011 alone.

Bottles of Celebrex sit on a shelf at a pharmacy in Chicago, Illinois.
Bottles of Celebrex sit on a shelf at a pharmacy in Chicago, Illinois.   (Getty Images)
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