Chantix Lawsuit Brought by 40 Plaintiffs Moves to Multidistrict Litigation

Whitney Taylor | April 9th, 2012

A joint complaint involving 40 claims of dangerous Chantix side effects that was originally filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County has now made its way to the Chantix MDL in the Northern District of Alabama. Plaintiffs included in this complaint allege a range of side effects, including Chantix heart attack, depression and suicide. The plaintiffs in Saul Frazier, Et Al, v. Pfizer will now wait with thousands of others for the bellwether trials to begin.

Risk of Chantix side effects not clearly stated, plaintiffs claim

The lawsuit was originally filed on February 24, 2012. In the original complaint, the plaintiffs all claim that they were unaware of potentially dangerous Chantix side effects when they began using the drug as prescribed by their doctors as part of the smoking cessation program. Since the drug was first introduced to the market in 2006, potentially deadly psychiatric side effects and a heightened risk for Chantix heart attack have been reported.

In early studies of the drug, Chantix excluded test subjects with a history of psychotic disorders, making it difficult for the company to ascertain the true link between Chantix and psychiatric problems, according to some plaintiffs. The company also ignored early claims that use of the drug led to Chantix depression, suicidal tendencies and aggressive behavior.

Plaintiffs allege that if the company had thoroughly tested the drug before marketing it to consumers, many who were at risk might not have taken the medication.

FDA warns of Chantix heart attack

In 2009, the FDA required Pfizer to carry a black box warning regarding side effects like Chantix depression, suicide and aggressive behavior. In 2011, the agency announced that there could also be an increased risk of Chantix heart attack with this drug.

For those who experienced side effects prior to these announcements, the information came too late to help them avoid the life-threatening and life-changing impact of Chantix use.

Growing claims of Chantix heart attack

Saul Frazier, Et Al, v. Pfizer was first transferred to the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on March 9, 2012. The transfer was granted at the request of Pfizer, which claimed in their petition that the transfer was proper since diversity in citizenship exists and the amount of damages sought exceeded $75,000. Pfizer’s request to transfer the case to District Court was part of their larger intention to have this lawsuit named as a tag-along case in the federal MDL.

On March 29, 2012, Saul Frazier, Et Al, v. Pfizer was transferred to the federal MDL in the Northern District of Alabama, joining many others alleging serious side effects like Chantix depression, suicide and heart problems. The MDL was designated in 2010, and is presided over by Judge Inge P. Johnson. Currently, more than 2,400 lawsuits are included in the coordinated proceedings, with bellwether trials expected to begin in October of this year.