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Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell said yesterday that he expects sales of Celebrex to rebound to earlier levels despite safety concerns that have decimated sales of the drug, Reuters reports.
"With new information now on the label and with additional clinical results that will be available over the next year or two, I don't doubt for a minute Celebrex will be a far bigger drug than it is today," McKinnell said.
Sales of Celebrex plunged 44 percent to $446 million in the third-quarter, tarnished by association with Vioxx, which was withdrawn last year after it was linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients taking the drug.
McKinnell declined to say when he would give new earnings forecasts for 2006 and 2007. But he said higher profit growth depends on rebounding sales of Celebrex and impotence drug Viagra, as well as a return to high sales growth of Lipitor.
McKinnell also told Reuters that his company is counting on a number of experimental drugs to help drive profit growth in coming years including Torcetrapib, which greatly raises the body's level of heart-protective HDL cholesterol. McKinnell called the drug one of the most important new heart medicines in decades. Torcetrapib is being tested in combination with Lipitor, which cuts levels of artery clogging LDL cholesterol. FDA filing for approval for the drug combination, currently in Phase III trials, is anticipated in 2007.