Five plaintiffs claim they suffered heart attacks, strokes or other serious injuries and economic damages as a result of taking the pain-reliever Celebrex in a suit filed April 5 in Madison County Circuit Court.
The 27-count compliant was filed by attorneys John Driscoll of Brown & Croupen in St Louis and Navan Ward, Jr. Andy Birchfield Jr. and Gerald B. Taylor Jr. of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles of Montgomery, Ala. The plaintiffs’ team recently litigated Madison County’s first Vioxx trial in which the jury found for the defendant Merck $ Co. last month.
Defendants include Pfizer, Pharmacia, Monsanto, G.D. Searle and Walgreen Co.
John Wiese of Madison County claims he suffered a heart attack.
Bryan Williams, an Illinois resident, suffered a heart attack and claims Walgreen sold him Celebrex without warning despite knowing it was not advisable given her health history;
Lorraine Thurmond, an Illinois resident, suffered a stroke and also claims Walgreen sold her Celebrex without warning despite knowing it was not advisable given her health history.
Kathleen Kaplan, an Illinois resident, suffered a serious skin reaction and related injuries; and
Diane Ribbentrop, an Illinois resident, suffered a heart attack and also claims that Walgreen sold her Celebrex without warning despite knowing it was not advisable given her health history.
The plaintiffs claim that Celebrex is defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous to human health and lacked proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, Celebrex is a COX-2-2specific inhibitor used to treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Celebrex is in the same category and Vioxx, which was recalled by its manufacturer Merck & Co., on September 30, 2004, and has since faced an avalanche of injury claims across the country.
The new lawsuit claims that Pfizer launched one of the largest "direct-to-consumer" marketing campaigns ever undertaken for prescription drugs for Celebrex in late 1999.
"Pfizer’s massive marketing campaign fraudulently and misleadingly depicted Celebrex as a much safer and more effective pain reliever then less expensive traditional NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)," the complaint states.
The suit also claims that plaintiffs properly used Celebrex, but they would not have had the defendants properly disclosed the risks associated with the drug.
The suit claims that the defendant’s intentionally "concealed, suppressed, omitted and misrepresented" results of clinical trials which showed Celebrex posed serious cardiovascular risk to users.