New Celebrex Ad Draws Criticism

Pfizer is airing a new Celebrex commercial that is unique in a few ways. First, it isn’t the usual 20-30 second spot, it actually runs for 2 1/2 minutes! Secondly, it uses animated line drawings rather than actors. However, neither of these innovations drew the attention of the watch dog group Public Citizen which has called on the FDA to ban the ad from the airwaves. Public Citizen’s chief complaint about the ad is that it is misleading. According to the group, it implies Celebrex is no more dangerous than other painkillers. Celebrex belongs to the same class of drug as Vioxx which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 due to its link with cardiovascular problems. According to the letter Public Citizen sent to the FDA, Celebrex may have links to gastrointestinal and cardiovascualr problems. Here is an excerpt of the letter: “The overall purpose of the ad is to make it appear, contrary to scientific evidence, that the cardiovascular dangers of Celebrex are not greater than those of any of the other NSAID painkillers. Further, it asserts that certain gastrointestinal problems are, if anything, less frequent with Celebrex than with two popular over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers.”