Apparently, the Bextra (valdecoxib) nightmare is lingering a bit longer for Pfizer. More than four years after the initial lawsuits against the drug were filed, a sales executive of a separate company pleaded guilty yesterday to encouraging her sales staff to promote the painkiller for uses she knew had been rejected by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Mary Holloway, a New Jersey-based sales manager for Pharmco is not affiliated with Pfizer, and her case is separate from that of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s civil settlement related to the marketing of Bextra. Nonetheless, the news certainly continues to cast doubts regarding industry ethics and marketing tactics.
In 2005, FDA asked Pfizer to voluntarily withdraw Bextra from the market because of concern regarding cardiovascular safety and reports of serious and life-threatening skin reactions. The company agreed to suspend marketing and sales of the drug in the United States.
In a news release, US Attorney Michael Sullivan said “Holloway was aware of the FDA’s safety concerns, but…she nonetheless had her sales staff of approximately 100 employees sell Bextra for precisely the uses that the FDA refused to approve.”