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PFIZER RESPONDS TO NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE ON DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUE FOR SHILEY HEART VALVES

 PFIZER RESPONDS TO NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE
 ON DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUE FOR SHILEY HEART VALVES
 NEW YORK, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE):
 "We are encouraged that valve replacement surgery has confirmed that the x-ray diagnostic technique under investigation at Beaumont Hospital in Michigan correctly identified three heart valves as having single-leg separations. But speculation in an article that appeared in today's New York Times concerning the cost to Pfizer of screening, diagnosis and valve replacement may be misleading.
 "Pfizer has agreed to pay $75 million into a fund to be used for research into identifying valves at a higher risk of fracture as part of a class action settlement pending approval in Federal Court in Ohio. That fund is also designed to reimburse screening, diagnosis and certain costs of valve replacement operations. The company hopes that the screening and reoperation program will be successful in identifying valves appropriate for replacement and thus preventing future valve fractures, for which a $300 million charge was taken in 1991.
 "The x-ray technology remains experimental. The identification of three single-leg separations does not itself validate the x-ray technique. The program at Beaumont is being conducted under an FDA- approved protocol designed, among other things, to eliminate false positive results. Until this research is completed and results are evaluated, it is too early make a judgment on the validity of this technique. In addition, any use of this technology requires acceptance or approval by FDA.
 "Ultimately, it is hoped that patients first can be screened to determine which of them are appropriate for an x-ray diagnostic technique. In the Beaumont program a statistical screen is being used and an acoustical methodology is being tested. It is therefore premature at this early stage to consider whether it would be appropriate to establish regional centers for use of this x-ray technology. It should also be noted that this procedure is not without risk to patient health because of the exposure to radiation and it would therefore be inappropriate to use x-rays as a screening technique.
 "We did not know how many single-leg separations we would find and until the study is complete, any speculation on how many will be found out of the total 300 patients would be premature. However, the patients in the study have all been statistically screened. All have valves that, according to statistical analysis, are at a risk of approximately 10 times higher than over 80 percent of people with C/C valves. The purpose of the screening and diagnostic technique is to identify and to avoid as many potential fractures as possible.
 "In December 1991, Pfizer made a pre-tax provision in the amount of $300 million for projected compensation payments in connection with potential future fracture of C/C heart valves. We would expect that the costs of screening, diagnosis and successful valve replacement surgery would be less than the costs of fracture compensation. More importantly, with each discovery and successful valve replacement, a patient's life may be saved."
 -0- 11/9/92
 /CONTACT: A. A. Biesada, 212-573-2055, or Rick Honey, 212-573-2051, both of Pfizer/
 (PFE) CO: Pfizer Inc ST: New York IN: MTC SU:


GK -- NY081 -- 8754 11/09/92 13:48 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 9, 1992
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