New Chantix scrips drop by almost half

Talk about an image being worth a thousand words. A Wall Street Journal chart tracking new Chantix prescriptions since January shows the kind of downward slope you only want to see on a double black diamond ski run. From close to 150,000 per week, the numbers have dropped to a point just north of 85,000. That's gotta hurt at Pfizer, which had counted the stop-smoking med among its few recent success stories.

Can Pfizer turn the Chantix tide? It launched a PR campaign last week, highlighting the undeniable fact that more than 6 million people have now taken the drug, and while some of its side effects can be severe--it's been blamed for suicides, accidents, and more--smoking itself has deadly side effects, and they're a lot more prevalent, percentage-wise, than adverse events related to Chantix. Even docs who've slowed down on firing off Chantix scrips tell the WSJ Health Blog that the fall--off is "fear-driven--not science-driven."

- see the Health Blog post