In the past, we have posted about the dangers of the popular smoking-cessation drug Chantix. Made by Pfizer, this drug has been blamed for causing serious neuropsychiatric side effects, including hostility, rage, agitation, depression and suicidal behaviors.
In March we posted about a Texas man who was arrested for arson after setting fire to 10 local churches. The man claims that his behavior was caused by taking Chantix and Prozac at the same time, which caused him to go into "kind of a daze."
Pfizer claims that there is no evidence that Chantix causes these neuropsychiatric events, but many grieving families disagree. Two fathers in Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against Pfizer alleging that Chantix caused a murder-suicide that left their two children dead.
In May of 2009, a 34-year-old man who was taking Chantix shot and killed his 33-year-old wife before turning the gun on himself. This violent incident is described as entirely out of character by family and friends of the couple.
An attorney in the lawsuit claims that if you asked any of the man's former coworkers, "they'll tell you he never had a bad word to say about his wife, Natalie, and the whole family echoes that sentiment."
The death of the couple has left their four children without parents. The lawsuit against Pfizer has been filed on their behalf by the fathers of the deceased couple.
Both Pfizer and the FDA have been accused of cutting corners during the approval process for Chantix. Critics say that the drug was approved despite a lack of adequate testing.
This lawsuit also alleges that Pfizer knew about the risks of neuropsychiatric events, yet it failed to adequately warn consumers or doctors. The attorney representing the family points out that the FDA forced Pfizer to put a "black box warning" on Chantix within a few weeks of the murder-suicide incident.
While this case is a tragedy, it is certainly not an isolated incident. Thousands of lawsuits regarding Chantix have already been filed, and countless more may be yet to come.
Source: wtae.com, "Lawsuit Blames Stop-Smoking Drug For Beaver County Killings," 10 May 2011
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