Chantix Lawsuit Settlements Expected
Individuals who have filed Chantix lawsuits against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the manufacturer of Chantix, are getting closer to reaching a settlement. Chantix is a controversial drug meant to assist smokers in quitting cigarettes.
Multi-District Litigation for Chantix Lawsuits
It was announced this month that around 1,200 Chantix lawsuits have been centralized under MDL (multi-district litigation) that will be overseen by U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson in Birmingham, Alabama. Legal experts predict that the number of Chantix lawsuits filed in federal court and subject to MDL consolidation will top 2,000 before the earliest cases are sent back to the courts where they were first filed, or before a settlement is reached with Pfizer.
A sole Birmingham lawyer is acting as lead counsel for all of the plaintiffs who have initiated a Chantix lawsuit in federal court. He believes that the first of these cases are likely to reach trial in 2012 unless a Chantix settlement is reached first. It is quite common for lawsuits undergoing multidistrict litigation to be settled out of court before reaching trial, so Chantix lawsuit settlements may be reached much sooner than 2012.
However, it is expected that Judge Johnson will send one or several of the Chantix lawsuits to trial as “bellwether cases” whose results could have an effect on plaintiffs whose cases are still pending. They may be influenced by the verdicts of earlier trials to either abandon or stick with their own lawsuits, and Pfizer may be persuaded by the bellwether case verdicts to offer an out-of-court settlement. The total amount of Chantix lawsuit settlements could possibly add up to a billion dollars or more.
Pfizer Shows No Sign of a Chantix Lawsuit Settlement
As the early stages of multidistrict litigation continue, Pfizer has given no indication that a Chantix settlement is in the works. The company released a statement on January 7, 2011, which indicates that they believe they have acted properly while developing and marketing the drug. Chantix has been found to cause psychological side effects such as depression, suicide, and violently aggressive behavior. There are also physical side effects from Chantix that can include diabetes, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or “Chantix blackouts” which can lead to injuries serious enough to require a hospital stay.
According to Pfizer’s statement, “Chantix is an effective treatment option for many smokers who wish to quit, and we intend to defend this important medication.”
Weighing the Dangers of Cigarettes versus Chantix Side Effects
One thing both plaintiffs and Pfizer can agree on is that Chantix is effective. Clinical trials definitively demonstrated that Chantix successfully mimics the effect of nicotine on the brain and assists smokers who wish to quit. However studies have also proven that the drug is a serious psychiatric risk for users who have a track record of mental health issues, as well as those with no history of mental illness.
Pfizer continues to fight the Chantix lawsuits, but in time it may be in the best interests of all concerned for a Chantix lawsuit settlement to be reached.