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New Setback for Pfizer On Sutent Drug Study

The pharmaceutical behemoth Pfizer has found yet another problem with a drug that it is testing against a wide range of cancers, following a review by the independent Data Monitoring Committee.

The company recently announced that it was discontinuing a late-stage Phase III study of its drug Sutent for use in treating liver cancer.

“The disappointing outcome of this trial challenges all of us to work harder to understand the complex biology of this disease,” Mace Rothenberg, head of clinical development for Pfizer’s oncology unit, said in a statement. “We are committed to patient safety.”

This action, however, is not the first of its kind for Sutent, which had worldwide sales of $964 million in 2009. In March, Pfizer said that two late-stage breast cancer tests involving Sutent failed to meet their goals. Last year, a late-stage trial of Sutent, also known as sunitinib, as a treatment for advanced colon cancer was stopped after it was found to be no more effective than standard chemotherapy.

The drug maker continues to test Sutent against non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, and for kidney cancer following surgery, according to media reports. Its use for treating advanced kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors is approved already.

According to one report, the liver cancer study was discontinued because of a high incidence of serious adverse effects suffered by patients taking the medicine. The layman may wonder how this drug, or any other, can be an effective treatment for certain diseases if its effects in other uses are negative.

We know that sometimes pharmaceutical companies can influence the research published on drugs. Where defective drugs are concerned, the well-being of the public must be the chief concern.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dangerous drug, or think that you may have been, the experienced pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton are eager to talk with you. Please contact us for a confidential case review at any of our nationwide offices.

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