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Pfizer shareholders granted class status in lawsuits over Bextra, Celexa claims

Filed April 4th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

Shareholders in the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. have been granted class-action status for their lawsuits against the company over claims it made, or didn’t make, regarding its arthritis drugs Celexa and Bextra.

The class established by the action of U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain in a New York federal court would cover any shareholder who purchased stock in Pfizer between Oct. 31, 2000, and Oct. 19, 2005. The judge determined that granting shareholders class-action status to their case will allow them to prepare a more efficient and expedited case with faster results than if each lawsuit was handled individually. 

Bextra and Celexa are COX-2 inhibitor drugs used to manage pain and inflammation in the neck and shoulders caused by arthritis. Bextra was recalled in 2005 after it was linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS). Similar accusations have been made of Celexa but it remains on the market.

Millions of Americans have been prescribed these drugs and inflated sales of the drugs were based mostly on Pfizer’s suppression of data that showed the drugs were linked to these dangerous side effects. The lawsuits filed by shareholders claim Pfizer knew these drugs were dangerous but continued to market them, boosting revenues and enticing more and more shareholders to buy a stake in the company at rising rates.

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