Osteoarthritis is a new study from Decision Resources, Inc., that evaluates the competitive environment for current and emerging drugs to treat osteoarthritis (OA). All eyes have been on the first selective COX-2 inhibitors, celecoxib (Pharmacia and Pfizer's Celebrex) and rofecoxib (Merck's Vioxx), for the treatment of OA since their respective launches in 1999 and 2000. With the large, lucrative OA market at stake, selective COX-2 inhibitors have been jockeying for top position since their first days on the market. The manufacturers have conducted multiple head-to-head trials designed to highlight differences between celecoxib and rofecoxib. For example, Merck has published data showing that rofecoxib is more effective against pain at night. Pharmacia and Pfizer have countered with a trial demonstrating that celecoxib is safer in hypertensive patients and that rofecoxib causes a higher rate of peripheral edema.

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Currently, Merck has the edge in Europe thanks to Vioxx's earlier launch, while Pharmacia and Pfizer command more of the U.S. market as a result of the huge direct-to-consumer advertising push behind Celebrex. Each company's advantage will gradually erode, however, as the near equivalency of their selective COX-2 inhibitors is borne out.

Pharmacia and Pfizer are developing a follow-up to celecoxib, the second- generation selective COX-2 inhibitor valdecoxib. Not to be outdone, Merck is also developing a follow-up to rofecoxib (etoricoxib); and Novartis is joining the competition with COX-189. Thought leaders interviewed for this study say the emerging COX-2 inhibitors promise to have fewer GI side effects than classic NSAIDs; unfortunately, these agents do not offer any improvement in pain control.

Osteoarthritis offers invaluable market intelligence for pharmaceutical companies developing drugs to treat this indication. This study is part of Mosaic, one of six Pharmacor services available from Decision Resources that evaluate the commercial potential of drugs in research and development.

Decision Resources, Inc., is a world leader in research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. Founded as a subsidiary of Arthur D. Little, Inc., the company has provided strategic information services for 30 years, assessing international pharmaceutical and health care industry trends. Visit Decision Resources at http://www.dresources.com/.

Contact Frank Sama, 781.296.2553 (tel), 781.296.2550 (fax), or sama@dresources.com. In Europe, contact Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (tel), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or fbidart@decisionresources.be. In Japan, contact Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (tel), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or makiko@bl.mmtr.or.jp.

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, Inc., +1-781-296-2553,
sama@dresources.com

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