Safety questions hit Novartis products

Novartis HQ cropped

Novartis was hit with two safety-related jabs yesterday. First, the company warned healthcare professionals that its drug Exjade has caused liver failure in some patients. At least one patient died. Most of the cases happened in patients who already had liver problems, but this new warning follows on another issued in May, which cautioned doctors about the med's potential to cause kidney failure in patients with certain pre-existing conditions. Exjade is used to treat iron overload in blood-transfusion patients.

Meanwhile, drug watchdogs in the EU want to withdraw all drugs containing the Cox-2 inhibitor Lumiracoxib. That would be Prexige, the osteoarthritis treatment Novartis had wanted to bring to the U.S.--until safety problems, including potentially fatal liver reactions, began plaguing the drug in other countries. It's already been withdrawn in Australia, and both the UK and Germany have suspended marketing.