Psychological Problems and Suicide Are Alleged Side Effects From the Smoking-Cessation Drug Chantix
For some individuals, the psychological side effects of the Pfizer manufactured smoking-cessation drug Chantix were so intense that they attempted or actually committed suicide. In 2009, the FDA ordered Pfizer to include a black box warning on the label that alerted patients to the risk of side effects such as Chantix suicide.
Over 275 cases have been consolidated in the Chantix multidistrict litigation (MDL) since it was established by the U.S. Judicial Panel on October 1, 2009. The Panel found that the growing number of cases against Pfizer presented common issues of law and fact that made consolidation appropriate.
The injuries allegedly caused by the drug (known generically as varenicline) include “neuropsychiatric” disorders such as atypical mood swings, depression, aggression, paranoia, mania, hallucinations, and blackout injuries.
Eight cases are chosen as suitable to be bellwether trials
The Chantix MDL is being managed by District Judge Inge P. Johnson in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. On March 16, 2012, Judge Johnson issues a pretrial order selecting eight trial pool cases from those that have filed a Chantix lawsuit and setting their trial schedule. The eight cases were chosen from a group that was first assembled by the attorneys for the plaintiffs and their counterparts for Pfizer. Each team identified 14 cases as suitable for bellwether trials, for a total of 28, and Judge Johnson made the final selection. Four of the trial pool cases involve Chantix attempted suicide or those who actually completed the act, and four others involve neuropsychiatric side effects.
The first two trial dates have been set
The first trial will begin on October 22, 2012. It was filed by a Minnesota woman named July Ann Whitley. Ms. Whitley’s husband, Mark Alan Whitley, committed suicide in 2007.
Another case, scheduled to begin on January 22, 2013, was filed by the estate of Sandra Corey. Ms. Corey died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2008 after using Chantix.
The remaining six trial pool cases will be scheduled at a later date.
Millions of individuals relied on Chantix for help in quitting smoking before the black box label was added and allege that they were not adequately warned of the dangers of suicide.