Chantix Settlements One Step Closer

Branden Samuels | January 17th, 2011

Plaintiffs who have filed Chantix claims against Pfizer, maker of the controversial anti-smoking drug, are one step closer to reaching a Chantix settlement with the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company.

Chantix lawsuit settlement consolidation

This week it was announced approximately 1,200 Chantix lawsuits have been consolidated under multidistrict litigation overseen by US District Judge Inge Johnson of Birmingham, Ala. Attorneys say the number of Chantix lawsuits filed in federal court and consolidated under MDL may reach more than 2,000 before the first cases are remanded to the courts where they were originally filed or a Chantix lawsuit settlement is reached and settlement amounts are determined.

According to a Birmingham lawyer acting as lead counsel for all plaintiffs who have filed Chantix lawsuits in federal courts, the first cases will likely go to trial in 2012 if a Chantix lawsuit settlement isn’t reached before then. In multidistrict litigation, it isn’t uncommon practice for defendants to reach a settlement with plaintiffs before a trial ever begins, so we may see Chantix lawsuit settlements sooner in these cases.

Still, it is more likely Judge Johnson sends one or a handful of Chantix lawsuits to trial as “bellwether cases” – the results of which could sway plaintiffs to drop or pursue their cases, or compel Pfizer to offer a settlement. Chantix lawsuit settlement amounts may reach a billion dollars or more.

No sign of Chantix lawsuit settlements from Pfizer

In the early stages of the MDL, there is no sign Pfizer is considering a Chantix settlement. A January 7,2011 statement from Pfizer maintains the company acted properly in developing and marketing Chantix, which has been linked to psychological side effects like depression, suicide, and violent, aggressive behavior in addition to other physical Chantix side effects such as diabetes, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and other serious injuries suffered during a Chantix black out.  Any such Chantix side effects can cause serious enough injuries that may require hospitalization.

“Chantix is an effective treatment option for many smokers who want to quit, and we intend to defend this important medication,” the statement reads.

Stopping smoking versus Chantix side effects

Most plaintiffs won’t argue that the drug is effective. Clinical trials repeatedly show that Chantix, which emulates the effect of nicotine on the brain, helps smokers quit. Studies also show the drug poses a real psychiatric risk to users who have a history of mental illness and those who don’t.

Pfizer will fight the lawsuits now. But a Chantix lawsuit settlement may be in all parties’ best interests before long.