FDA Warns of Chantix Heart Risks: Will MDL Dates Change?

Ryan Green | June 30th, 2011

The latest court order in regard to Chantix multidistrict litigation specifically regulates the collection of evidence and depositions in regard to Chantix side effects such as depression, suicide and attempted suicide. The court’s new calendar deadlines provide a Chantix lawyer with a clear timeline for the advancement of his or her case towards trial and ultimately favorable compensation for the plaintiff he or she represents.

Chantix multidistrict litigation establishes ground rules

On March 10, 2011, the court issued pretrial order 4C, which is the third amendment to a previous pretrial order establishing ground rules for discovery.

The court specifically ordered that depositions of common fact witnesses who are currently or formerly employed by Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, could begin on May 16, 2011.

The court also ordered a revision of a previously set schedule for disclosures and depositions of expert witnesses “in cases involving suicide, attempted suicide and neuropsychiatric events.”

Both plaintiffs and defendants must disclose their “general causation and liability” experts by December of 2011. Depositions for these experts will then commence in January of 2012 and must be completed by March of 2012.

Over 1000 cases in Chantix multidistrict litigation

In 2010 a judicial panel consolidated all federal lawsuits filed against the maker of the smoking cessation drug into Chantix multidistrict litigation. Over 1000 cases have been grouped together for pre-trial proceedings under the oversight of Judge Inge P. Johnson of the Northern District Court of Alabama.

Chantix multidistrict litigation cases share similarities

More than one Chantix lawyer proposed Chantix multidistrict litigation because many of the individual Chantix lawsuits shared matching fundamental elements such as plaintiff injury and theory of cause. The federal judicial panel designated Chantix multidistrict litigation to streamline the pre-trial process and avoid duplicative or conflicting rulings in regard to discoveries and depositions.

The majority of the cases grouped into Chantix multidistrict litigation involve plaintiffs complaining of Chantix side effects such as depression, psychosis, unnaturally aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide. Other plaintiffs, however, have hired a Chantix lawyer to file a lawsuit over Chantix side effects that are cardiovascular, and not neurological.

FDA warning on cardiovascular Chantix side effects

The FDA’s June 2011 warning about the increased risk of “cardiovascular adverse” Chantix side effects may come strongly to bear on cases involving heart disease, cardiovascular problems, and other Chantix heart problems. A Chantix lawyer might request that the court push back some of the pre-trial discovery deadlines so as to thoroughly incorporate the new concerns and clinical findings regarding cardiac adverse Chantix side effects.