Washington, DCMore than 80 percent of the 2,700 federal and state Chantix lawsuits facing Pfizer look as if they could be settled. Pfizer, the maker of the controversial smoking cessation drug known generically as varenicline, faces a raft of lawsuits alleging Chantix causes suicide, suicide attempts and other psychiatric disturbances.
In order to make the settlements, Pfizer has taken a $273 million charge to cover the costs, and has set aside $15 million for finalizing the remaining claims.
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These “batch” settlements follow the two individual “bellweather” Chantix lawsuits which were settled for undisclosed amounts. The first, settled in October 2012, was filed by the wife of Mark Whitely, a Chantix user who committed suicide. The second lawsuit was settled directly with the plaintiff, plaintiff Billy G. Bedsole, Jr., who alleged his use of Chantix triggered his experiencing suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric problems. Chantix carries a "black box" warning to alert patients and doctors to the risk of psychiatric side effects.
Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that Chantix could be associated with an increased risk for heart attack.