Facing Monday trial, Pfizer settles bellwether Chantix case

Pfizer ($PFE) settled its first lawsuit over Chantix's links to suicide, Alabama media reports. After failing to win a postponement earlier this week, the drugmaker made a deal with the plaintiff, a Minnesota woman whose husband killed himself while using the stop-smoking drug. The terms were undisclosed.

It's the first of the Chantix bellwether suits, the leading edge of the litigation over the drug's psychiatric risks. Some 2,600 claims were filed nationwide linking Chantix with suicides, attempted suicides, and other serious psychiatric problems, but all those cases are now consolidated in an Alabama court.

Pfizer had asked Judge Inge Johnson to put off the trial until January to give the company time to work in new data from a trial of Chantix in depressive patients. That data made its debut Tuesday. Johnson rejected Pfizer's motion; the settlement followed. Attorneys in the case had also asked the judge to compel Pfizer CEO Ian Read to take the stand.

The next case up for litigation was filed by Billy G. Bedsole, Jr., an Alabama man who claims that Chantix triggered suicidal thoughts, erratic behavior, mood swings, anxiety and memory loss. He says he was hospitalized for psychiatric reasons after using the drug.

- read the AL.com story

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