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Toxic Drug Warnings Merely Move Attention To Other Drugs

You can imagine how pleased I am with all the scrutiny being given to toxic drugs that have been taken off the market or relabeled by the FDA with black box warnings in recent months. That said, is it possible patients have replaced one poison -- in this case a toxic drug like Vioxx or Celebrex -- for something else that's potentially just as dangerous?

Seems the pain reliever Mobic has doubled its marketshare since last fall when Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra were connected with cardiovascular problems. Mobic's drugmakers, Boehringer Ingelheim and Abbott Laboratories, used a strategy very similar to the one used by AstraZeneca and TAP Pharmaceutical Products to drive demand for Prevacid and Nexium.

After Vioxx exited the U.S. market last fall, Boehringer ran rare consumer ads suggesting, as did other ads, patients speak to their physicans about alternative painkillers. Within six months, Mobic's segment of the arthritis drug market almost doubled to 8 percent. Fourth-quarter 2004 sales of Mobic rose 176 percent to $258 million compared to the same period in 2003.

My hero Dr. David Graham unknowingly had a hand in slowing down Mobic's growth, however. His testimony, criticizing Mobic during a February FDA panel as potentially having the same effect as Vioxx and the other COX-2 inhibitors, cooled a surge that reached a 9.4 percent share of all new arthritis prescriptions.

If you're looking for safer, saner alternatives to toxic drugs that promote better health and healing, I strong urge you review my seven anti-inflammatory alternatives that also protect your heart.

USA Today March 24, 2005

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