Pfizer Inc. and its California distributor, McKesson Corp., were recently sued in Los Angeles Superior Court by dozens of individuals who suffered adverse side effects after taking the drug varenicline, also known as Chantix.
Chantix is designed to mimic the effects of nicotine and thereby reduce the severity of a smoker's nicotine cravings, but the drug has also been linked to an increase in mental disorders and suicide. The Chantix users who recently sued Pfizer allege that the company rushed the dangerous drug onto the market with inadequate testing and engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign that obscured its serious health risks.
Chantix users allege that the drugmaker failed to study Chantix's side effects fully by intentionally excluding certain populations from its studies and by "intentionally ignoring" indications that the drug causes depression, aggression and suicidal tendencies.
Plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Chantix case also allege that a properly conducted yearlong study demonstrated that 20 out of 251 Chantix users experienced "psychiatric disorders" while only three of the 126 patients taking placebos experienced similar disorders.
"The relative risk that Chantix patients would suffer psychiatric disorders was more than threefold that of patients on placebo, a relative risk that was significant both clinically and statistically," the complaint alleges. The complaint goes on to note that the study failed to mention this risk and that it was authored by an employee of Pfizer Global Research and Development.
We will discuss other aspects of the Chantix litigation in our next post.
Source: Frazier v. Pfizer, 2012 WL 750578 (Trial Pleading) Superior Court of California, L.A. Count