By a vote of 12 to 1, a panel of Canadian health advisors said Thursday that Merck's COX-2 drug Vioxx should be allowed to go on sale again in the country.
The panel said the risk of heart disease from Vioxx was the same as posed by similar painkillers and that gastrointestinal effect appeared to be less.
The panel met last month to discuss the risks of Vioxx and Pfizer's Bextra and Celebrex.
The group of advisors was unanimous in recommending Celebrex be allowed to remain on the market but voted against reintroducing Bextra because of its risk of a rare but serious skin disorder.
A Merck spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday the company has not decided whether to put Vioxx back on the market in Canada or anywhere else.