World of Pain for a Class of Drugs
Right now, the COX-2 inhibitor drug market is riddled with uncertainty and in desperate need of pain relief.
Merck's (MRK) Vioxx is gone. Its presumed successor, Arcoxia, is sold in 47 countries but not in the U.S.; and Merck is talking to foreign regulators about the drug following the U.S. Vioxx withdrawal.
In late October, the Food and Drug Administration granted conditional approval for Arcoxia, but that approval includes more clinical testing to assess long-term safety and efficacy. Merck has declined to provide details on what it would have to do and how long it would take. Clearly, Arcoxia won't reach the U.S. market for at least several years, and many analysts have dropped any prediction of U.S. sales for many years in their economic models.
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