Teva launches generic of Pfizer's arthritis med Celebrex in the US
- The first generic celecoxib capsules are now available, courtesy of Teva Pharmaceuticals, in the U.S. in 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-mg doses.
- Celecoxib is the generic equivalent of Celebrex, a COX-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is used to treat acute pain, as well as other types of pain from inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Based on IMS data, Celebrex, which is marketed by Pfizer, has annual sales of approximately $2.56 billion.
When Pfizer launched Celebrex in the late 1990s, it was considered a breakthrough because it promised the pain relief of traditional NSAIDs without the high incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, such as bleeding.
That's because, theoretically, selective COX-2 inhibition is supposed to bypass many of the mechanisms implicated in GI bleeding. Despite this optimism, Celebrex has been criticized for some serious risks, including a 37% increase in the risk of vascular events, including nonfatal myocardial infarction or nonfatal stroke.
It is also associated with an 81% increase in the incidence of upper GI events. Nonetheless, celecoxib provides durable pain relief, and Teva should have a healthy market for its generic in the U.S.