Pfizer Inc. has reached a confidential settlement with the widow of a Minnesota man who killed himself after taking the anti-smoking drug Chantix. The Widow of Mark Whitely sued Pfizer after his death in November 2007 alleging the company failed to sufficiently warn that Chantix could increase the risk of suicide. The Law suit was the first of more than 2500 Chantix cases pending in Federal Court in Alabama set for Trial.
The Law suits claim that Chantix causes depression and other psychiatric disorders, some so severe that patients attempted to commit suicide. The Plaintiffs allege that Pfizer knew of a link between Chantix and suicide and failed to sufficiently warn patients.
Pfizer has denied that Chantix was the cause of Whitely’s suicide or that the company with-held information about the drug.
Pfizer has provided warnings on the package inserts of reports of suicidal thoughts since 2006. The notice was updated in 2007 & 2008 and culminated in a ‘black box warning’ being placed on the package insert in July 2009. Plaintiffs Lawyers have claimed that Pfizer should have provided such warnings earlier.