Celebrex scripts see decline
Prescriptions for Pfizer's COX-2 drug Celebrex have dropped 40 percent since last year's withdrawal of Merck's Vioxx, according to a Wednesday report from the investment research company Bernstein. Those numbers could throw a wrench in Pfizer's predicted growth for the upcoming year, analysts said.
"Much of Pfizer's guided 2006 growth is predicated on demand resurgence for COX-2s, this guidance having been given before Bextra's withdrawal," the report said. "Any COX-2 resurgence for Pfizer obviously now must come from Celebrex, which has flattened despite constant physician promotion and the opportunity to capture patients from Vioxx and Bextra withdrawals."
"We view a Celebrex demand resurgence as unlikely," read the report, which rates Pfizer as a "market-perform" or "hold."
A Pfizer spokeswoman told CNNMoney.com that the situation would improve once a warning is added to the Celebrex label.
"Certainly there has been confusion among doctors and patients but this will be clarified by new labeling for all pain relievers that is being negotiated with the FDA at the current time," she said.