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Over 2.1m total prescriptions in arthritis market for week after Vioxx recall, most to other COX-2s

YARDLEY, PA., October 13, 2004 -- Over 276,000 patients are projected to have switched away from Vioxx to other therapies, including other COX-2 inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), in the week ending October 8, the first full week after the worldwide recall of Merck's COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx, according to Verispan Vector One: National -- a methodology for tracking and measuring prescription medicine traffic and behaviors.

Based on the Verispan projections, over 100,000 of those patients, or 36% of the total, were switched from Vioxx to Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor manufactured by Pfizer. Thirty-three percent of the patients switched from Vioxx (approximately 91,000 patients) were placed on Bextra, another COX-2 inhibitor also manufactured by Pfizer. Generic NSAIDs accounted for 17.6% of Vioxx patient switches, followed by Mobic, the branded NSAID manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim and co-marketed by Abbott Laboratories, which garnered 12% of the switches.

However, the Vector One report also notes that switches away from other COX-2 inhibitors increased during the week ending October 8, compared to the preceding week. There was a 24% increase in switching away from Celebrex and a 15% increase in switching away from Bextra.

Mobic's new prescription share within the arthritis market jumped from 3.3% during the week ending September 24 to 6.5% two weeks later (week ending October 8). During the latest week, Mobic's number of net switches (number of patients gained versus lost) was the highest among all drugs in the NSAID class at 39,900 patients. In the 4 weeks prior to the recall, Mobic averaged net gains of 1,938 patients per week.

Posted: October 2004