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Chantix Blamed for Suicide in Lawsuit Against Pfizer Filed by Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris
Date:7/9/2008

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A lawsuit charges pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was motivated by greed when it failed to warn the public of potentially deadly side-effects associated with its popular smoking cessation drug varenicline which is marketed under the trade name Chantix. The suit, brought by the widow of an Indiana man, alleges the decedent committed suicide after using Chantix as prescribed. The victim's tragic death occurred only a few days before the information contained in the drug label and package insert for patients was amended to include warnings for the increased risk of experiencing suicide and similar tragedies. Further, the widow blames Pfizer in the lawsuit by identifying many specific instances of bad conduct, and suggests that Pfizer pursued profit over patient safety.

"This man's death was a direct result of taking the drug Chantix," said Kristian Rasmussen, veteran pharmaceutical litigation attorney with the law firm Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris. Rasmussen and attorney William E. Winingham of Wilson, Kehoe and Winingham are representing the victim's widow.

The suit says the man was not warned of potentially devastating side effects when he began taking Chantix in October 2007. The man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in January, 2008. Less than a month after the Plaintiff committed suicide, Pfizer modified the package insert on Chantix to recommend that all patients being treated with Chantix "be observed for neuropsychiatric symptoms including ... suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior."

"Pfizer's action was too little too late," said Rasmussen. The lawsuit accuses Pfizer of putting profits before patient safety and claims Pfizer failed to report suspected side effects for fear the warnings would cut into sales and profits. Chantix revenues reached $883 million in 2007, according to corporate performance reports available on the company's website. The suit seeks unspecified damages and accuses
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SOURCE Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris
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