BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 9 A lawsuit charges pharmaceuticalgiant Pfizer was motivated by greed when it failed to warn the public ofpotentially deadly side-effects associated with its popular smoking cessationdrug varenicline which is marketed under the trade name Chantix. The suit,brought by the widow of an Indiana man, alleges the decedent committed suicideafter using Chantix as prescribed. The victim's tragic death occurred only afew days before the information contained in the drug label and package insertfor patients was amended to include warnings for the increased risk ofexperiencing suicide and similar tragedies. Further, the widow blames Pfizerin the lawsuit by identifying many specific instances of bad conduct, andsuggests that Pfizer pursued profit over patient safety.
"This man's death was a direct result of taking the drug Chantix," saidKristian Rasmussen, veteran pharmaceutical litigation attorney with the lawfirm 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 sideeffects when he began taking Chantix in October 2007. The man died of aself-inflicted gunshot wound in January, 2008. Less than a month after thePlaintiff committed suicide, Pfizer modified the package insert on Chantix torecommend that all patients being treated with Chantix "be observed forneuropsychiatric symptoms including ... suicidal ideation and suicidalbehavior."
"Pfizer's action was too little too late," said Rasmussen. The lawsuitaccuses Pfizer of putting profits before patient safety and claims Pfizerfailed to report suspected side effects for fear the warnings would cut intosales and profits. Chantix revenues reached $883 million in 2007, accordingto corporate performance reports available on the company's website. The suitseeks unspecified damages and accuses Pfizer of intentionally, recklessly andor negligently concealing, suppressing, omitting or misrepresenting the risks,dangers, defects and disadvantages of Chantix.
About Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris
Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris is recognized nationally for its practice inmass torts litigation, multidistrict litigation and complex litigationincluding class actions, products liability, business and securitieslitigation, environmental litigation and mass torts litigation of defectivemedical devices and pharmaceuticals.
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