For immediate release

Montgomery, Alabama (April 13, 2005) – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., the Montgomery Alabama based law firm, has been in the forefront of the effort to have all of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors (Bextra, Celebrex, and Vioxx) taken off the market since the law firm took on its first case against Merck over 4 years ago. Beasley Allen is spearheading the review of over 31,000 claims against the manufacturers of Bextra, Celebrex, and Vioxx, having filed 161 cases to date.

In a pretrial order issued this past Friday, Judge Fallon of the United States District Court in Louisiana appointed Andy Birchfield of Beasley Allen as co-lead counsel with regard to pending Vioxx products liability litigation. Additionally, the Court appointed Andy Birchfield to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) Executive Committee. A spot on the committee is desirable because its members navigate issues that can affect the outcome of the cases such as gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, choosing expert witnesses and developing overall strategy. They also meet with the judge and Merck’s lawyers regularly.

One of the most popular in the COX-2 class, Vioxx – used by tens of millions of people worldwide – was pulled off the market last October. This decision came shortly after medical conference where FDA researcher David Graham showed higher doses of Vioxx correlated with a tripled risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac death compared to people who weren’t taking any similar drug. A December 2004 Forbes article stated that Merck’s Vioxx liability could reach $38 Billion.

On Thursday, April 7th, Pfizer (the manufacturer of Celebrex and Bextra) suspended sales of their arthritis drug, Bextra, following a recommendation from the FDA. Despite numerous published studies which undeniably link the COX-2 inhibitors to a greater risk of heart-attacks, strokes and even Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), as well as a stern warning from the FDA in December of 2004, Pfizer has been unwilling to voluntarily pull its drugs off the market, until now. “It is terribly unfortunate that it has taken so long for FDA and Pfizer to do the right thing and recall Bextra,” Mr. Birchfield stated in a recent press conference.

Following the recall of Bextra, Pfizer continues to manufacture the only remaining COX-2 inhibitor, Celebrex. “We can only hope that Pfizer acts responsibly and withdraws [this drug] as well,” Birchfield stated.

About Beasley Allen
Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, Beasley Allen is comprised of over 45 attorneys and 200 support staff. Beasley Allen is a national leader in civil litigation, having settled verdicts and settlements amounting to nearly $15 billion.



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