Chantix Lawyers Set to Meet with MDL Court on Monday

Lawyers involved in the Chantix litigation, which was recently consolidated in federal court for pretrial proceedings, are scheduled to meet with the Court for the first time on Monday, to discuss management of the cases and the leadership structure of the multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Dozens of Chantix lawsuits filed in federal district courts throughout the United States have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama before District Judge Inge P. Johnson. All of the cases involve allegations that Pfizer failed to fully research their stop-smoking drug or adequately warn about the potential risk of Chantix side effects, which could increase the risk of suicide, suicidal attempts, abnormal behavior and other problems.

In October 2009, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that 34 Chantix cases be consolidated for pretrial proceedings before Judge Johnson. Since that time, another 41 lawsuits over Chantix have been transferred into the MDL as tag-along cases, and many Chantix lawyers expect that hundreds of additional cases will be filed in the coming months.

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The agenda for the conference, laid out by a court order issued in November, called for the parties to discuss whether it may be possible to reach an early Chantix settlement. Counsel for Plaintiffs and Defendants were also asked to submit brief written reports prior to the meeting, which explain their preliminary understanding of the facts involved in the Chantix litigation and what they expect the critical factual and legal issues to be.

At the meeting, or shortly after, it is expected that Judge Johnson will appoint Chantix attorneys to serve in leadership roles, including lead counsel, liason counsel and members of the plaintiffs’ steering committee, who will perform services that benefit all plaintiffs who have filed a Chantix lawsuit.

In consolidated MDL proceedings, lead counsel typically act as a spokesperson for all plaintiffs at the pretrial proceedings and in response to inquiries from the court, as well as submit and argue motions before the court, examine witnesses at hearings and negotiate stipulations and potential settlements with the defendants, which would apply to all cases. The liaison counsel receive and distribute orders from the Court and documents from opposing counsel, as well as assist in the coordination of activities between both parties. Members of the steering committee are appointed to conduct discovery and other services during pretrial litigation.

Chantix (varenicline) was approved 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 drug has been linked to increased risks of suicide and suicide attempts, aggressive behavioral changes and other psychiatric side effects, which have resulted in fatal or catastrophic injuries for many users.

The FDA has received hundreds of adverse event reports involving Chantix problems, leading to a “black box” warning being added to the medication in June 2009 to warn consumers and the medical community about the potential psychological side effects. Pfizer has also been required to conduct clinical trials providing more data on how often neuropsychiatric symptoms with Chantix occur and what conditions cause them.

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4 Comments

  • donnaJanuary 26, 2012 at 2:22 am

    i had to take 4 doses of this poison just to slowly ween myself off of it, it is more addictive then cigarettes. i now have diabetes, high blood pressure, and headaches, and i am always feeling stressed. this drug sucks. ipray no one else takes it.

  • PhilJanuary 6, 2011 at 4:10 am

    I'm scared now. I took chantiix the starting week. On the 8th day I had a swollen/sore throat that of which I've never experienced before. I stopped for a day, called the Dr.. Today she checked for strep. I told her I stopped Chantix and wanted welbutrin or zyban instead. She told me to keep taking Chantix and put me on a Z pack for antibiotics to rid my body of my throat problems. I went h[Show More]I'm scared now. I took chantiix the starting week. On the 8th day I had a swollen/sore throat that of which I've never experienced before. I stopped for a day, called the Dr.. Today she checked for strep. I told her I stopped Chantix and wanted welbutrin or zyban instead. She told me to keep taking Chantix and put me on a Z pack for antibiotics to rid my body of my throat problems. I went home and took 1/2 of the blue pill around noon. It's 10PM and my throat is getting worse. And to top it off I took my other 1/2 pill not thinking about it. I pray tomorrow to wake up and not have the swollen throat that I had a couple days ago, but it sure seems that I will. Furthermore I pray that all these symptoms will go away. I will stop taking the rest and just don't want to ever take prescription meds again.

  • DebbieMarch 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I have been taking Chantix for 5 months and am weening myself OFF!!! I recently broke out in sores that peel and bleed on my head and body, gas, and extreme sadness and concentration! NOT good!!! I have also fallen at least 3 times and I never fall!

  • LauraJanuary 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I quit three days into my second week continued taking it for a nearly a month; didn't think I needed any more so I quit taking it, two days later I awoke with a swollen throat went to the doctor & they couldn't figure it out they tried steroids (38 pounds later)surgery & they want to try other things but I don't have the money or Ins. it's been eight months now; it is like being tormented daily t[Show More]I quit three days into my second week continued taking it for a nearly a month; didn't think I needed any more so I quit taking it, two days later I awoke with a swollen throat went to the doctor & they couldn't figure it out they tried steroids (38 pounds later)surgery & they want to try other things but I don't have the money or Ins. it's been eight months now; it is like being tormented daily to the point I have several times I have seriously considered death as my only way out, went to several doctors before I lost my Ins.I haven't had Ins. since Sept '09 so I can't get the help I need, had I known the out come I would not have taken chantix, I slip in and out of sad stages, feelings of anxiousness, anger, I had a rash all over my body that was swollen, burned & peeled for over a month...Before taking it and paying over $500.00 dollars for the poison (Chantix) I asked about side effects and was told that "the ONLY side effects were the strange dreams and possible upset stomach" now that nearly a year has gone by all of a sudden these side effects have come to light. I think Chantix should pay for my medical care, they can't even begin to compensate me for the time I have lost and the fact that I'm tormented daily it is as if someone has their hands around my throat choking me.

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