Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pfizer Pays for Another Rimadyl Death

Over at Pharmalot, they note that:

Two years after filing a widely publicized lawsuit, a Colorado couple has reached a settlement with Pfizer over allegations the drugmaker failed to sufficiently warn that its Rimadyl medication, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment for dogs, can cause severe harm. And now, the couple plans to take the proceeds to start a campaign to raise awareness about what they say are the dangers of the drug.

Yep, Rimdayl is not a completely safe drug.  It is, however, an extremely profitable drug for a veterinarian to prescribe. I have written about this before in a post entitled Rimadyl: Relief From a Swollen Wallet. As I note:

[A]lmost all Rimadyl sales by veterinarians for short-term use are a rip-off; you could be using buffered children's Aspirin or a low-dosage of Ibuprofen for a lot less money.

At the core of the scam you have drug company that has created a "me too" version of Ibuprofen that they sell through veterinarians. Veterinarians sell the drug at a big profit (more than 100 percent markup) and also create client dependency as folks have to come back in those cases where a recurring condition (like limber tail) might arise. The drug company makes a lot money, the veterinarian makes a lot of money, and you, the customer, are out of money

If you are interested in saving money and ditching Rimadyl (and the veterinary dependency that comes with it), be sure to read my post on aspirin and Ibuprofen use and dosage in dogs.

Dosage is critical with all drugs. As I note, "ANY medicine is a poison if it is not given in the proper dosage." And, just to put a point on it, Rimadyl might be the right drug for your dog in certain long-term-use cases. Again, see the link.

As for the Colorado dog that was the basis for this latest Rimadyl lawsuit, Pharmalot notes:

After two weeks in the hospital, tests showed severe liver degradation. By the end of July 2009, Sophie was dead. By then, the couple racked up about $30,000 in expenses and, after being alerted, Pfizer sent a check for $1,000, matching the average amount offered to pet owners who participated in the class-action lawsuit that was resolved in 2004. However, they rejected the payment (back story is here and you can click here for the lawsuit).

So how much
was the settlement for?  Pfizer will not say and "the terms of the settlement are confidential" so we will never know. 

That said the owners of Sophie, the now-dead Colorado dog, are taking all of the settlement money they did get and are using it to launch an awareness campaign about the dangers of Rimadyl.  They have already created a "Friends of Sophie" web site and Facebook page. A brochure to be distributed to veterinarians will be forthcoming but, of course, that brochure will probably not matter in the slightest since Rimadyl sales are mostly about profit, not about efficacy or need.

As I noted in an earlier post about Rimadyl and the rather famous problems associated with other Cox-2 drugs:

Cox-2 drugs like Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra have all been implicated in heart attacks and strokes in humans, and Vioxx was pulled after it was implicated in killing perhaps as many as 20,000 people. Bextra too has been pulled from the market, and Rimadyl, once sold to humans, is now only sold for veterinary use, under the theory that dogs do not typically suffer from hypertension.

Will your veterinarian tell you all this? Not likely! You see, there is too much money to be made selling Rimadyl

And has that changed?  Nope, not a bit.


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