Pfizer settles Chantix suits for $273 million

Suits claimed company’s smoking-cessation drug causes injuries and raises risk of suicide

Pfizer Inc. has paid up big time to settle lawsuits claiming its smoking-cessation drug Chantix caused serious harm.

In its annual report filed on Feb. 28 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the pharmaceutical company said it has agreed to settle roughly 80 percent of the more than 2,700 suits claiming Chantix caused suicide and other injuries. The agreements cost Pfizer $273 million last year, and the company has set aside $15 million to resolve all remaining claims in the U.S., according to the report.

The news of the SEC filing comes after Pfizer recently reached settlement agreements in two bellwether cases that were set to go to trial. In October 2012, Pfizer reached a settlement agreement with the widow of a man who killed himself after taking Chantix. In January, Pfizer settled claims with a Chantix user who said the drug caused him to have suicidal thoughts and other problems.

Pfizer introduced Chantix in the U.S. in 2006, and just two years later, consumers started filing suits claiming the company knew about the drug’s harmful psychological side effects but failed to inform doctors and patients. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration required Pfizer to add a black-box label to Chantix’s packaging that warned users about the risk of suicidal thoughts, depression and other behavioral changes.

Read Thomson Reuters for more about the Chantix settlements.

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