Novartis yanks European app for Cox-2 pain drug

Novartis may be enjoying a string of clinical successes, but it's facing a stiff challenge trying to re-introduce its Cox-2 pain drug Joicela (lumiracoxib) to the European market. Pulled from the market in the wake of the Vioxx debacle, Novartis had quietly asked regulators for their OK to resume marketing the drug in Europe to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis. But Novartis withdrew its application earlier today after the company determined that it could not respond to regulators' demands for new data within the review period allowed. Once considered a likely blockbuster, Novartis wants to see if a companion diagnostic flagging patients susceptible to liver damage would make it a safe and effective treatment for the rest of the patients who could benefit from it. Story