Friday, July 11, 2008

Chantix Suicide Lawsuit

I will continue to post stories like this as they emerge. The bottom line is that, even if the percentage of people who die as a result of taking Chantix is small, every single death is completely unnecessary. You'd be better off continuing to smoke cigarettes than to take these far more potent and dangerous pharmaceutical concoctions.

More than enough methods are available to stop smoking that have absolutely no harmful side-effects. Although I recommend hypnosis before any other method, I'd recommend anything other than pharmaceuticals (Chantix, Champix, Wellbutrin). The top of the list would have to be hypnotherapy and acupuncture. These methods should be attempted before any other because they're absolutely safe.

What you are beginning to see in regard to Chantix is only the tip of the iceberg. These cases tend to remain buried until the first one bursts through; others quickly emerge. You have to wonder if it's only a matter of time before we see a story like this about Chantix:

$894 million deal ends Pfizer's lawsuits over Celebrex, Bextra

If you wonder how drugs like these get approved in the first place, here's another headline:

Lawsuit claims Pfizer massaged Neurontin studies
Wed Oct 8, 2008 6:50am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc tried to suppress medical studies that did not support the use of its epilepsy drug Neurontin, internal Pfizer documents submitted in a U.S. lawsuit against the company showed.

The documents suggest that Pfizer's marketers influenced Neurontin's scientific record to boost sales at least until 2003 by delaying the publication or altering the conclusions of studies that had found no evidence the drug worked for various conditions besides epilepsy.

Remember this headline, from USA Today, back in 2005?

Pfizer faces a barrage of lawsuits

Here's another from June of 2005:

Federal Judge Rejects Pfizer’s Efforts to Dismiss Zoloft-Suicide Lawsuit

Minneapolis, Minnesota - - On July 20, 2005 United States Chief District Court Judge, James M. Rosenbaum rejected Pfizer’s effort to dismiss Kimberly Witczak’s Zoloft-suicide lawsuit. Mrs. Witczak asserts that Zoloft induced her husband, Timothy (“Woody”) Witczak, to commit suicide after suffering severe adverse reactions to the drug. Mrs. Witczak claims that Pfizer fraudulently marketed Zoloft as safe and effective and failed to provide warnings about Zoloft’s propensity to induce suicidality, despite Pfizer’s knowledge of the risk, as evidenced by internal memoranda and studies obtained through discovery. [my emphasis]

In an effort to prevent this evidence from reaching a jury, Pfizer sought to dismiss the case, arguing that Mrs. Witczak’s state law claims are "preempted" by federal law. Pfizer argued that, since the FDA approved Zoloft and did not, until recently, require a warning about suicide risk, any lawsuit blaming Pfizer for failing to warn about the risk is legally impermissible.

Suicides, side-effects and lawsuits are not the exception - they're commonplace. Because of their history and track record, pharmaceutical drugs, particularly those that affect you psychologically, should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. These companies (Pfizer, Merck, etc.) have shown repeatedly that the bottom line is more important to them than the well-being of the public.

Here are the first few paragraphs from the article about Chantix suicide. Click the link below for the full story.

Widow Sues Pfizer Over Chantix Suicide
By Ed Silverman // July 10th, 2008 // 12:43 pm

On January 3, David Collins killed himself with a shotgun, three months after he began taking Chantix, Pfizer’s controversial smoking-cessation pill. Now, his widow, Linda, has filed what may be the first product-liability lawsuit against the drugmaker over Chantix side effects and an alleged failure to provide sufficient warnings. And her lawyer predicts many more such lawsuits are on the way.

In her lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Indianapolis, Collins claims Pfizer failed to adequately study Chantix; delayed publication of studies containing Chantix risk info; failed to update Chantix labeling sooner, and denied Chantix is explicity to blame for suicide by instead suggesting such behavior may be the result of nicotine withdrawal. Here is the lawsuit.

“The magnitude of the safety signal associated with the risk is alarming,” Kristian Rasmussen, one of Collins’ lawyers, tells us. Prior to the suicide, David Collins exhibited aggression and had strange dreams, but had no history of mental illness. Pfizer has been criticized for not including people with mental illness in its clinical trials, because the drug causes neuropsychiatric side effects.

You may recall the FDA, last February, issued a health advisory about Chantix concerning ties to the side effects, shortly after Pfizer upgraded the labeling. At the time, the FDA reported 39 suicides and 491 cases of suicidal behavior or thoughts.

full article:

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