In the Nation newspaper, 4th December 2007, there was a brief article on page 3 which advised Barbadians that the marketing and sale of the drug ‘Prexige – cox 2 inhibitor’ has been suspended by the Ministry of Health. The notification coincided with a note that we received from a member of the BU family – thanks for the literature as well!
On the surface, it seemed a harmless announcement but after careful reading of the ‘literature’ we became alarmed! We learned that the drug ‘Prexige’ was recalled in Australia since August 2007.
We quote from a media release published on Novartis website:
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Australia has complied with the decision of the TGA to withdraw all doses of Prexige, a Cox-2 inhibitor for the treatment of osteoarthritis and acute pain, with immediate effect.
This action has been taken after a number of cases of serious liver side effects were reported in Australian patients taking Prexige, including two deaths and two liver transplants. Serious liver side effects have been reported rarely for all Cox-2 inhibitors and traditional NSAIDs.
Novartis estimates that approximately 60,000 patients have used Prexige in Australia, and the majority of these have been prescribed Prexige 200 mg for the management of osteoarthritis. Prexige was first made available to patients in Australia in November 2005.
Our sources have confirmed that pharmacies in Barbados received the order to yank ‘Prexige’ on the 25th November 2007. Of concern to Barbadians should be the three other drugs in our pharmacies which should be yanked as well, according to our sources. These drugs are: Celebrex, Mobic and Norflex which have been described as cox 2 inhibitors as well. These drugs are alleged to be causing the same symptoms as ‘Prexige’.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have published this article in the hope that people on the Internet who are knowledgeable about this case can provide leadership for Barbadians. Regrettably, the cryptic note which was published in yesterday’s newspaper is all that Barbadians can expect to hear on this matter.
We are forced to question the role of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), our Association of Pharmacists and most of all the Ministry of Health!