Pfizer Pulls Bextra From U.S., E.U. Marts

NEW YORK Pfizer has pulled its Bextra painkiller drug off the market because of findings by the Food and Drug Administration of adverse coronary side effects, the company confirmed. Bextra will also stop being sold in the European Union as a result of the latest findings.

In 2004, the New York pharmaceutical giant spent $5 million in media on the brand, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson in New York won the account after a review in July 2003, but it had not produced direct-to-consumer television advertising. IPG’s Deutsch had handled the brand before resigning its Pfizer business earlier that year.

A McCann representative declined comment.

Bextra is the latest in the class of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors to be pulled from the market for similar side effects issues. Merck pulled its Vioxx brand, handled by Omnicom Group’s DDB in New York, in September, but Pfizer’s Celebrex remains on the market without advertising support. Pfizer agreed to expand its list of warnings on the Celebrex label per the FDA. Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York handles Celebrex.

Merck spent $70 million advertising Vioxx, and Pfizer spent $115 million on Celebrex in U.S. media in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.