Since its introduction to the Canadian market in 2007, the smoking cessation drug Champix has been linked to 44 patient deaths, 30 of which were suicides. Now, a class-action lawsuit alleging psychological side effects of the drug is proceeding against Champix manufacturer, Pfizer.
The Ontario Superior Court has certified the suit and over 200 Canadians have joined. One member of the class, Patricia Clow, of Victoria, lost her daughter in 2009 when she committed suicide while taking Champix. The drug has been linked to 1,300 incidents of suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression, and other serious psychological issues.
The statistics come from a database within Health Canada, which issued warnings about Champix as far back as 2010. The same year, the French government took Champix off of its list of state-covered medications citing concerns over the drugs safety. In Oct. 2014, American consumer and health groups petitioned the U.S. government to increase warnings in regard to Champix causing suicidal thoughts and actions.
While Health Canada reaffirmed its belief that Champix's benefits outweighed the risks in 2012, plaintiffs like Clow have only painful experiences with the drug to cling to.
"Im cold. Im done. Im angry, upset ... I hurt inside..."
In a note written by Heidi, Clows now-deceased daughter expressed her agony. Im cold. Im done. Im angry, upset ... I hurt inside, the Royal Canadian Navy steward wrote. I love you Mom! Sorry. Please. I just want to go.
Clow feels the province should stop funding Champix, and stresses that Heidi's suicide came seemingly out of nowhere.
Champix carries a black-box warning, which is the most stringent label applied to prescription medications. While a typical warning might direct the user to call a physician if they detect any changes in themselves, Chantix's warning is unusual. The label urges patients to inform their social circle of their intention to quit smoking so friends and family can take note of any personality or behavioral changes that might arise while the drug is being used. Because Champix may cause such profound changes in the way the patient thinks, Pfizer advises the user to warn others.
The New York-based drug maker denies claims that it failed to properly inform consumers of Champix's risks, and the allegations have yet to be proved in court. The drug maker said that Champix is a proven aid to smoking cessation treatment and has been approved for use in more than 100 countries with more than 18 million prescriptions filled.
Pfizer spent about $273-million to settle lawsuits related to the medication in the U.S., according to the companys most recent annual report.
Were you or a loved one harmed by Champix? You can still join the class-action lawsuit if you were prescribed Champix between 2007 and 2010 and suffered its side effects, or if a loved one took their own life while using the drug to stop smoking.
The class-action lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are here to help you today. We provide free case evaluations to the victims of dangerous drugs like Champix, and we always fight for the maximum amount of compensation available to you.