Motion Filed to Consolidate Chantix Litigation in MDL
Plaintiffs pursuing Chantix lawsuits in federal courts throughout the country are asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to consolidate and centralize all the cases in one court for coordinated pretrial litigation.
Dozens of separate lawsuits have been filed in various federal district courts with nearly identical allegations that Pfizer failed to adequately research their medication or warn about the potentially life-threatening side effects of Chantix, which has been linked to suicide deaths, severe injuries from suicide attempts and unusual aggressive behavior.
A group of 20 different plaintiffs filed a motion on July 2, 2009, asking that all cases be consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings, repeat discovery on issues common to all cases and to serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the court.
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Chantix (varenicline) was approved by the FDA in 2006 as a prescription medication to help promote long-term cessation of smoking. The drug works by blocking the receptors in the brain that are commonly stimulated by nicotine, reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes.
Last week, the FDA announced that a Chantix “black box” warning will be added to the label providing information about side effects of Chantix that could include changes in behavior, depression, hostility and suicidal thoughts.
In addition to the warning, Pfizer is also being required to conduct clinical trials to provide more data on how often the neuropsychiatric symptoms occur and under what conditions. They will also have to add more information in the medication guide that discusses the risks of the potential behavioral and mental changes, so that patients are aware to immediately contact their doctor if they notice any Chantix problems.
The first suicide lawsuits involving the stop smoking drug were filed last year and Chantix lawyers who represent those injured indicate that the number of cases that will be filed in federal courts throughout the country is likely to increase dramatically in the coming months.
“Without the benefit of coordination and consolidation, the parties and judiciary will be forced to needlessly spend time, money and resources because many common issues (e.g., matters related to discovery and generic experts) will be replicated,” argued plaintiffs in their motion.
The 20 lawsuits involving Chantix identified in the Motion are spread among at least 10 different federal districts, with no one court containing most of the cases. The plaintiffs who filed the petition suggested that all cases be assigned to the Northern District of Alabama or, in the alternative, the Northern District of Georgia.
TheresaDecember 31, 2010 at 8:16 pm
My mother took Chantix to stop smoking and committed suicide less than 3 months later. Why aren't doctors notifiying the family that the drug has suicidal tendencies and warn family members to watch them in case of irrational behavior.
VirginiaSeptember 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm
I hope those who did have documented previous depression will be represented in a case for using chantix before the warnings came out. How can doctors pretend to not know how or why chantix can cause what it does? Do they really want those free vacations for prescribing the most Pfizer drugs so bad?
JacquelineJuly 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm
I am a 50 year old female and I have tried Chantix. It worked well for me. I had no suicidal side effects. I also take celexa and a small of dosage wellbutrim.
BobJuly 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm
Sign makers should be required to put the Chantix and Zyban warning on all of the “No smoking” signs to prevent suicides and lawsuits by forcefully coercing people into using a dangerous product.
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