Barbour County could be back in the national tort spotlight this summer when plaintiff lawyer Jere Beasley and his firm take pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to court over its arthritis drug Celebrex.

A Celebrex lawsuit is set for trial in Clayton on June 6, and a press release from the Beasley Allen firm in Montgomery says it will most likely be the first Celebrex case to be tried in the country.

According to Beasley’s press release, Rosie Ware of Clayton took Celebrex (Celecoxib), a pharmaceutical treatment for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and other pain-related conditions.

She suffered a stroke in February 2005, at the age of 53, and contends it was due to her use of Celebrex.

Ware claims she suffered physical setbacks that cost her substantial sums of money for medical, hospital and related care.

The lawsuit accuses Pfizer, Inc., Monsanto Company, Pharmacia and G.D. Searle LLC of failing to warn the medical, pharmaceutical, and scientific communities and consumers, and of understating the potential risks and serious side effects associated with the use of Celebrex.

The firm’s website also posts a press release from December, 2004, where another Barbour County native, Tom Methvin, managing shareholder in the Beasley Allen firm, called upon Pfizer to recall Celebrex.

A posting on the firm’s website from April, 2005, states that Andy Birchfield, Beasley Allen’s lead Celebrex litigation attorney, was spearheading the review of 406 cases, having filed 58 of those cases against Pfizer dating back to 2000.

Attorneys for Ware are Beasley, Birchfield, Paul Sizemore and Nathan Ward Jr., all with the Beasley Allen firm, and Shane Seaborn and Myron Penn with the firm of Penn & Seaborn in Clayton.

Pfizer and the FDA have not pulled Celebrex from the market, and the current Beasley press release (March 2006) from Pfizer says worldwide annual Celebrex sales in 2006 should surpass $2 billion. The release says a study released in New Zealand this week alleges people who take Celebrex are at nearly twice the risk for heart attacks as those people who use other treatments for arthritis.

A Pfizer spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, according to the Beasley firm, “Celebrex continues to be available as an important treatment option for patients.

“The FDA and other health authorities have concluded that the benefits of Celebrex continue to outweigh its risks, and as a result, Celebrex is the only Cox-2 inhibitor remaining on the market today.”

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What is Celebrex? Celebrex is in a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)....

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