Chantix Injury Lawsuits Moving Forward in Federal MDL
Lawyers will begin taking individual plaintiff depositions next month in some federal lawsuits over Chantix filed by individuals who allege that the smoking cessation drug caused users to commit suicide or suffer serious injury due to psychological side effects.
Hundreds of Chantix injury lawsuits are consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, where the cases are being coordinated during pretrial proceedings by U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson.
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that side effects of Chantix, a popular prescription medication sold by Pfizer to help people stop smoking, may increase the risk of serious injury or death due to suicidal thoughts and other unusual, aggressive behavior that has been reported to occur in some users after taking the medication.
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According to a prior case management order, a small group of cases have been selected for inclusion in an “initial discovery pool”, which will be prepared for early trial dates in the MDL, known as bellwether trials. In complex litigation involving a large number of claims with similar allegations, such trials are often helpful in allowing the parties to gauge how juries are likely to respond to evidence and testimony that will be presented throughout many cases in the litigation.
Although the first Chantix trials are not expected to begin until the second half of 2012 at the earliest, the discovery obtained during such cases and the outcomes of any trials may be useful in leading to an eventual Chantix settlement agreement.
Lawyers involved in the Chantix litigation appeared before Judge Johnson earlier this month for a status conference, where the parties informed the court that depositions of Pfizer employees continue and that depositions of individual plaintiffs selected for inclusion in the initial discovery pool will begin in mid-September 2011.
In an order issued after the conference, Judge Johnson instructed Pfizer to turn over a number of documents to the Court for review in camera, which the drug maker has claimed contain privileged information. The next status conference is scheduled for September 16.
Chantix (varenicline) was approved in the United States by the FDA in 2006 as a prescription medication to help people quit smoking. The drug works by reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes, blocking the receptors in the brain commonly stimulated by nicotine. However, the impact of the drug on the brain has resulted in a number of reports from users who experienced sudden, unusually aggressive behavior, thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
In June 2009, the FDA added a “black box” warning to the medication about the potential risk of changes in behavior, depression and suicidal thoughts, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication in the United States. Most of the Chantix injury lawsuits currently filed allege that Pfizer failed to adequately research their medication or warn about the risk of these problems earlier.
This year, the FDA also issued a drug safety communication about the potential risk of heart problems from Chantix, warning that the smoking cessation drug might increase the risk of certain cardiovascular events, including the risk of heart attack, among individuals who had cardiovascular disease. In recent months, a number of lawyers have begun reviewing potential Chantix heart attack lawsuits against Pfizer as well.
terriJanuary 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm
Good for you, Brian!! I'm thrilled for you! I mean it! As far as KNOWING when a person is feeling overwhelmed...and/or if they can't tolerate it....THAT'S where the problem comes in for alot of people. I took two scripts in '07 and endured two long hospital stays in '08. That little blue pill is sneaky and all consuming. There is NO WAY I would've been able to recognize the negative side[Show More]Good for you, Brian!! I'm thrilled for you! I mean it! As far as KNOWING when a person is feeling overwhelmed...and/or if they can't tolerate it....THAT'S where the problem comes in for alot of people. I took two scripts in '07 and endured two long hospital stays in '08. That little blue pill is sneaky and all consuming. There is NO WAY I would've been able to recognize the negative side effects and ACTED on it. I was at the mercy of this drug and had no idea what was happening to me. I felt myself spiral...but couldn't STOP it...and didn't KNOW it was because of the Chantix...when that rug is YANKED...there is no time to call your doctor and/or a friend or family member. You could LIVE w/doctor and even share a bunkbed w/him/her....and they still couldn't get to you in time. Had I not taken it myself, I, too, would've had my doubts re: some of the horror stories...but, I DID...and can assure you that once this venom is in your bloodstream, only God knows how/where you will land. I trusted everybody involved in the process of getting this script, but never again...will I trust so BLINDLY others w/my life!
joeSeptember 27, 2011 at 10:44 am
I took this drug. I suffered from a blackout for a week not realizing what I was doing it ended with me attempting suicide. I took all my sleeping pills and ended up in the hospital psych ward for a week my advise do not take this very dangerous drug... It KILLS I am blessed to still be after what happened to me
marySeptember 5, 2011 at 2:56 am
i suffered heart attack
JeanSeptember 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm
In the UK this drug is called Champix. I came very close to suicide when I took it three years ago - it was absolutely terrifying - but it was about a year before I'd recovered enough to report the side effects to my GP. I'm appalled that the drug is still being prescribed and hope this case succeeds in publicising the dangers if nothing else.
BrianSeptember 3, 2011 at 11:14 am
I honestly felt champix(the brand name sold also by for other parts of the world) pfizer has helped me. If not for it i would not have stopped. Everyones tolerance and effects towards certain drugs may vary. So if u feel its effects are overwhelming, then just reduce the dose to the point the postive effects are sufficient where side effects are minimal. For ppl who cant tolerate it then don[Show More]I honestly felt champix(the brand name sold also by for other parts of the world) pfizer has helped me. If not for it i would not have stopped. Everyones tolerance and effects towards certain drugs may vary. So if u feel its effects are overwhelming, then just reduce the dose to the point the postive effects are sufficient where side effects are minimal. For ppl who cant tolerate it then dont bother using it go try something else like nicotine patches gum etc which are alll nicotine based products so good luck with that. Dont be such cry babies and sue whatever doesnt work and use your brain instead to think for yourself. If u feel a certain drug doesnt work why take it? Tell your doctor. Sue your doctor instead if he forces u to continue n not listen to u. Not pfizer coz it does help people. I rarely post comments but champix is one exception coz it really did help me.
CarrieMSeptember 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm
I was on this for 2 weeks and had a total meltdown and felt like I wanted to just curl up in a ball and die. This stuff is dangerous!. My fiancee thought I was going to totally lose it, plus I smoked more on Chantix then I did before. Thank heaven for e-cigs..
terriAugust 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm
Chantix is a very, POWERFUL drug. Had I not taken it myself, I would have a hard time believing some of the horror stories...but, I DID and can vouch first-hand...they are for real. Who knew a little, blue pill could distort one's mind so COMPLETELY?! Not me, that's for sure...and not all the OTHER people who went to the trouble and expense to get this prescription filled!!!!!!!!!!!!! To Pfize[Show More]Chantix is a very, POWERFUL drug. Had I not taken it myself, I would have a hard time believing some of the horror stories...but, I DID and can vouch first-hand...they are for real. Who knew a little, blue pill could distort one's mind so COMPLETELY?! Not me, that's for sure...and not all the OTHER people who went to the trouble and expense to get this prescription filled!!!!!!!!!!!!! To Pfizer's credit...it DID take the enjoyment out of smoking....and that would've been GREAT had it STOPPED there. But, it didn't. Once it hits the smoking receptors...it goes on...and on...and takes on a whole new life of it's own. It's a SLOW process...but THOROUGH!! Once in your bloodstream, only God knows how/where you'll land. I'm amazed it's still on the market after ALL the thousands of people it has affected!!!!!!!! ...it IS a major money maker, I'm sure. But, I guess MY thinking is... no matter HOW MUCH MONEY IT BRINGS IN....WON'T THAT GO OUT to all the people it's harmed???!!!! They can forGET the black box, purple box warnings...and as far as people keeping an EYE on you...that's a joke!!! You could share a bunkbed w/a DOCTOR...and when that rug is YANKED OUT....no one...but, NO ONE...can save you. Please believe me....as I have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to lie. It's bad stuff. Really, REALLY, bad stuff. A recall is DEFINITELY in order.
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