Lawsuits against Pfizer's Celebrex, Bextra get class action status

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Pfizer has been sent to class.

A judge has decided that lawsuits against Pfizer ($PFE) over the outlook for pain-relief drugs Celebrex and Bextra can be pursued together. Shareholders have sued, claiming that the drug company was not upfront about studies that linked the drugs to cardiovascular problems.

Pfizer was hoping to make each shareholder slug it out individually, but U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in New York says that after hearing the ins and outs of the case for 7 years, she knows the issues and the parties, and the most efficient justice would come from linking the cases in a class action, Bloomberg reports.

When investors became fully aware in November 2004 that research tied Celebrex to heart risks at high doses, Pfizer's shares took at 7.6% dive. Bextra that same month was among drugs that FDA reviewers said were unsafe.

Pfizer of course, is disappointed and intends to "vigorously defend" its position, a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

- here's the Bloomberg story

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