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Litigation Predicted in Wake of FAA Ban of Chantix Use by Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers: Smoking Cessation Drug Target of Controversy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A veteran pharmaceutical litigation attorney predicted today that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will face lawsuits from individuals who claim to have been harmed by its popular smoking cessation drug Chantix. The FAA issued an immediate ban on the use of Chantix by pilots and air traffic controllers on May 21 after receiving an analysis of adverse events published by the Institute for Safe Medication. The report cites cases that allege Chantix may cause serious unintended side effects including loss of consciousness.

Kristian Rasmussen, a veteran pharmaceutical litigation attorney with the law firm Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris said, "The magnitude of the health risks associated with Chantix is alarming - we are trying to determine whether the drug maker, Pfizer, failed to disclose information it may have had about adverse side effects." Rasmussen said his team, that includes pharmaceutical and medical experts along with attorneys, has been investigating reports of devastating side effects for more than year. "What we are finding is that the magnitude of the safety signal associated with using Chantix is alarming both in terms of severity of injury and the number of different serious reactions," said Rasmussen.

After requesting an accelerated review by the FDA, Chantix was approved for use in the U.S. in May, 2006. Chantix revenues hit $883 million in 2007, according to corporate performance reports available on the company's website. The Institute for Safe Medication report, cited in the FAA's ban on Chantix use among pilots and air traffic controllers, is the latest in a serious of reports highlighting concerns about the drug. In November, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a Preliminary Assessment specifically highlighting the number of reports noting an association between suicide and attempted suicide within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment.

On February 1, 2008, public health concerns intensified when the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory stating that "Serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have occurred in patients taking Chantix." Symptoms outlined include changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and attempted and completed suicide. Rasmussen says more studies are likely as attorneys move forward with litigation.

About Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris

Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris is recognized nationally for its practice in mass torts litigation, multidistrict litigation and complex litigation including class actions, products liability, business and securities litigation, environmental litigation and mass torts litigation of defective medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

SOURCE Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris
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