It seems that maybe all COX-2 inhibitors may be the same indeed. Pfizer announced that a trial similar to Merck's for preventing adenomas revealed a 2.5 greater chance of having a major fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event than those on placebo. Pfizer's release is here, and the AP coverage is here. Note that the dosage used is at the higher end of what is prescribed for arthritic pain, so maybe Pfizer can hope this is a dose-dependant effect, and salvage some sales of Celebrex, which are about 6% of Pfizer sales.
Billy Tauzin has scored a major pay increase, by accepting a position as the head of PhRMA (no relation). There are of course the usual disclaimers that this is not a reward for his authorship of the Medicare Drug Bill. My favorite part of this article is the quote from Tauzin - "This industry understands that it's got a problem...It has to earn the trust and confidence of consumers again." Ironically, surveys have suggested that the more a senior citizen is aware of the parameters of the Medicare drug bill, the more likely they are to oppose it. So, Mr Tauzin, why do you imagine the industry has lost the trust and confidence of consumers?
Another dumb person story hot on the heels of yesterday's woman in the Post who isn't happy enough with her daughters: a survey showing that smokers are ignorant about health issues of smoking. The only unfortunate thing is that these folks will generally live long enough to pass on their stupid genes to the next generation. Well, at least they won't be sucking benefits out of Social Security for too long into retirement, since AstraZeneca's Iressa doesn't seem to improve survival over placebo.