Healthcare: Pfizer in crisis mode as Bextra withdrawn

Pfizer this week pledged 'transparent and timely' comms as it copes with the fallout of the US and European withdrawal of its arthritis drug Bextra.

The drugs giant plunged into crisis comms overdrive last week following a US Food and Drug Administration decision that the risk of 'rare but serious' skin conditions associated with the painkiller warranted the suspension of its marketing and sale.

Pfizer's PR agencies on Bextra - Ogilvy PR Worldwide (for US work), Shire Health International (for non-US international PR) and Shire Health London (for UK work) - transferred calls about product communications strategy for the drug to Pfizer.

Pfizer US said in a statement that it 'respectfully disagrees' with the FDA on the drug's risk/benefit profile.

Pfizer UK told PRWeek: 'We are communicating with stakeholders in a factual, transparent and timely manner. These stakeholders include clinicians, pharmacists, wholesalers and those in the distribution chain and media.'

Arthritis Care opened its helplines two hours earlier than usual last Saturday.

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