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Celebrex ads return, accompanied by serious warnings


Their newest ads feature a man holding a boy’s hand as the two ascend a stadium staircase. "52 steps won't keep you from taking him out to the ballgame," the ad reads.

A heart attack would, however.

Each ad is accompanied with a boldfaced warning that states, "Important Information: Celebrex may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death."

The message is undeniably mixed, but Pfizer hopes the rejuvenation of their campaign will revitalize their drug's slumping sales. In 2004, prior to their ad hiatus, they spent $117 million promoting Celebrex and made a reported $3.3 billion. Since then sales have fallen to $1.7 billion.

The new campaign reaffirms the drug industries dependence on advertising to bolster sales, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a frequent critic of drug makers.

A spokesman for Pfizer said that all painkillers have inherent risks and their new disclaimer only warns of Celebrex's potential risks.