MALVERN, PA: Centocor, a Johnson & Johnson company, has turned to its in-house PR team to handle media relations around a "Dear Healthcare Professional" letter sent to physicians earlier this month.
Dozens of media outlets reported on the letter after the Food and Drug Administration posted it on its website last week.
The letter lists potentially fatal blood-vessel and central-nervous-system disorders in patients taking Remicade, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Among 509,000 patients taking Remicade, about 500 complications have been reported.
Craig Buchholz, senior director of worldwide PR, noted that the drug company's strategy has been to "accurately respond to the media requests."
He also noted that Remicade didn't necessarily cause the complications - which could have resulted from the primary disease or another medication being used at the same time.
Buchholz said he didn't foresee any effect on prescribing patterns. "It's an infusion product [delivered through an IV], so you're not going to see any impact on the market," he said.