Champix Chantix 10: Truth Will Out, Pfizer.

By Chris Holmes

*Update 1: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

**Update 2: VIVE LA FRANCE! On May 31, 2011, French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand announced that varenicline prescriptions would no longer be subsidized by the government health insurance, due to questions about its safety. At last, someone with the honour and judgement of a normal human being!**

Pfizer claimed, over and over again, that if there was a serious safety problem with their evil, unpredictable drug it would have showed up in the official trials and reviews. It DID, but they managed to conceal it:

“Hundreds of reports of suicides and violent reactions tied to the stop-smoking drug Chantix were left out of a crucial government safety review.
The reports were missing because the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer Inc. submitted years of data through ‘improper channels’, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Serious problems — such as people killing themselves, trying to kill themselves, depression and unprovoked attacks on others — were mixed among 26,000 records of non-serious side effects such as nausea and rashes dating back to 2006, the year Chantix, or varenicline, was approved.” Daily Mail, May 29th 2011

In other words, Pfizer knew about the depression and the horror stories since 2006, and deliberately tried to hide the truth AGAIN. So every bad reaction, suicide, suicide attempt, hospitalisation, violent incident, wrecked working life or reputation – every ruined relationship/marriage and devastated family life that has occured since then, in countries all over the world, could have been avoided. In their ruthless drive for profit, this rogue company has utter contempt for proper reviews, safety procedure or the rule of law, despite already having been fined record sums for breaking rules in the past. The question is, what are governements going to do about this now? What is the New Zealand government going to do, having only “cautiously endorsed” Champix last November, after much hesitation following serious concerns about the health risks? Now that this latest piece of cynical deception has come out, are they STILL going to allow doctors to prescribe this killer drug to their innocent patients, putting their lives at risk unnecessarily? How long does it take for this message to get through to politicians and decision-makers? People are dying needlessly because of corruption and greed.

Pfizer’s standard marketing hype – that “the benefits outweigh the risks” – clearly cannot be accepted now, and have always been untrue because the benefits were greatly exaggerated to begin with, by the usual trick of publicising short-term results and never mentioning the known long-term failure rate. That is seriously misleading – and now we are discovering that they were seriously misleading the authorities about the true extent of the dangers right from the beginning.

Folks, this is not an anomaly: this has become standard practice for drug companies in utter contempt of the law and the fate of individuals, and particularly typical of Pfizer, and it HAS to be stopped. This drug must be withdrawn immediately, and Pfizer investigated and held to account for the horrific damage they have recklessly done to so many human lives. There are serious doubts now about how long it takes to get the drug out of your system even long after you’ve stopped taking it, with some sufferers now reporting very long-term damage.

Full story here.

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*Update 1: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*


**Update 2, 4th November 2011:

The American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) were recently reported in the Business section of the Washington Post as reassuring smokers that Chantix (known as Champix everywhere outside the USA) “does not increase psychiatric problems”, according to two small studies involving 26,000 smokers.  Since this flies in the face of everything else they know about Chantix already, it is surely irresponsible to say such a thing at this time, because the caveats added to the story further down do not carry anything like the weight of the inevitable headline.  Meanwhile, this article in the Daily Mail reports a study which states exactly the opposite.

Why?  Because the Daily Mail is not bending over backward to assist the pharmaceutical industry – even at the expense of smokers’ lives, if that’s what it takes – whereas the FDA very clearly is.  The testing and approvals system is corrupt as hell, using every possible means of dragging their feet so that Chantix/Champix stays on the market and remains ‘approved’ regardless of how many individual smokers’ lives are ruined by the drug.

The Truth Will Out Campaign has been trying to alert smokers (and doctors) to the dangers of this drug since Autumn of 2008 – so these unnecessary delays drive me pretty crazy – but just imagine the frustration of this commentator on the new Daily Mail report:

“Oh now they make this a huge statement. My mom used it in mid 2007. She ended up in a mental hospital. Thanks Champix. This stuff shouldn’t even be on the market!!! I still can’t understand why it is, with all these accounts of suicide! I read horror story’s back then after this happened to my mom about people killing themselves or having illness such as bi-polar disorder activated in them. My rule with all drugs is, if it hasn’t been on the market for more then 10 years…DO NOT take it. You never want to be the guinea pig. Sorry for all those who ended their lives because they were manipulated this drug.

– Danielle, USA,
3/11/2011 6:08”


***Update 3, 21st October 2012: Pfizer settle first Chantix suicide case out of court


14 Days on Champix Ruined My Life, Doc

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

I just had an update from Andy, who took Champix (Chantix) for only 14 days.  That was two and a half years ago, and this update is the latest reason I believe this medication should be withdrawn immediately.   This was the original message from Andy in 2009:

“I started taking Champix on December 1st 08 and took them for 14 days, during the time I took them I felt progressively more and more ill, I contacted my doctor twice and was told its normal to feel ill on them and to keep taking them. On 14 th December 08 I was admitted to hospital with chest pains, 1 week later and a lot of tests I was discharged, no diagnosis, just sent home, since then I have been diagnosed with Diabetes and Reynauds Syndrome, have balance problems, problems with my endocrine system and have been off of work (now lost my job), so how do you go from healthy to feeling ill and being admitted to hospital in 14 days, then 6 months later have the same mystery symptoms, my guess is that as Champix works on receptors in the brain it messes with a whole lot more than just dopamine receptors.

“Can I prove this? The answer is no. I’m a layman and the doctors tell me it isn’t the case, they know because they looked on the manufacturers website, so coincidently within the 2 week period I was using champix I turned diabetic, suffered circulatory problems, endocrine system problems and lost my balance and gained vision that comes and goes as it wants, lost the ability to work, drive my car and generally do things that normal people do, also I dont know where the end of this is, nor do the doctors.. If you google Chantix lawsuit you will find that in the US there are a whole heap of people with similar problems to those I’ve suffered, and am suffering now, find another way to give up smoking, I wish I had….”

So how has Andy fared since then? Has it all worn off, is he back to his normal self? Did the advice to stop taking Champix if you suffer any ill effects save him? After all, he was only on it for 14 days. Here’s Andy again:

“Further to my post (number 87, posted in June 2009) I’m still suffering the same symptoms 2.5 years down the line, I’ve been through over 2 years of tests, have lost my job, almost lost wife and children and now, the doctors finally say that they feel that it was Champix that has caused all this.

“In the very next breath they also said that proving it will be almost impossible and that getting any legal recourse will be even harder, so there we are, 38 years old and basically on the scrap heap until they can hopefully figure out a way to deal with my symptoms.

“So where do I go from here, I dont know, the doctors dont know either, I’ve used all my savings just to live the last couple of years and I cant function day to day, legal action would be futile and I cant fund it, so all I can do is sit and stare out the window and watch the world go by, happy days 🙁 ”

So I thought that Andy’s dreadful outcome deserved a post all to itself. After all, it originally appeared on the thread of comments following my “Champix Chantix 4 – Enough Already” post back in 2008, when I was suggesting that too much suffering had already resulted from this horrible drug. Evidently Pfizer and Andy’s doctors did not agree: they had to ruin his life as well, and many others all over the world. Perhaps Andy’s doctors have finally started to get the message but it is way too late for Andy, and now they are suggesting that nothing can be done legally. Actually I beg to differ Andy, let’s not assume that. Failure to withdraw this drug immediately has to be negligence. Every single victim deserves compensation when the dangers were known YEARS AGO. Andy is not the only one to develop diabetes after taking Champix, despite being perfectly healthy beforehand. Check this little lot:

And that was published in May 2008 – six months BEFORE the drug was given to Andy. This killer drug is still being aggressively marketed and there are still doctors and “quit counsellors” handing it out with scarcely any warnings at all. It’s CRIMINAL.

Sufferers: report it. Doctors: don’t prescribe it. Smokers: don’t take it. Pharmacists: don’t stock it. BMA, NICE, MHRA, FDA… you are all responsible for this rogue drug ruining innocent people’s lives. For Christ’s sake, STOP IT NOW. Personally I think that YOU are the ones that should be sued… along with Pfizer, let’s not forget them. They know it hardly works for anyone in the long run anyway, only in the short term. 86% failure at one year. Do you think Andy would have ever taken it if he had known THAT? Do you think ANYONE would? Champix is just the latest fraudulent “wonder drug”, but in terms of the damage it is probably the worst yet. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these drug giants has another nasty little concoction all ready for the hype train that turns out to be even worse, because the testing procedures are no longer looking at the long term effects or results of any new medications now: if it shows ANYTHING that looks like a positive effect, that’s it! That’s all you need, stop the trial right there, get out the big rubber stamp of approval and off we go again.

Alarmingly quick to approve, criminally slow to withdraw – that’s the FDA and the MHRA for you, and that’s why I’m calling them all lackeys of the pharmaceutical industry. And it’s people like Andy and his family who are paying the price for this global drug profiteering.

Nothing we can do, Doc? I’ll tell you what we CAN do, for a start: lose all faith in your ill-informed ‘advice’ – which is no more than drug company hype – and don’t take the tablets. It has really come to something when it takes two years for the patient to get their own doctor to realise what is wrong with the pills, hasn’t it? For shame, Doctor.

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*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

Why Champix Should Be Withdrawn Immediately  by Chris Holmes

Finally – and this has taken far too long – the call has begun for Champix to be withdrawn from sale because of the dreadful damage it has done to so many smokers and their families.  Dr Michael Siegel, a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health has explained why the Black Box Warning on the medication – the strongest type of safety warning there is – is still not sufficient to protect the public.  His voice should not be ignored: Dr Siegel has 25 years experience in the field of tobacco control and has published nearly 70 papers on tobacco.  This is what he says about Pfizer’s dangerous brain-boiling tablet:

I’ve Been Saying This For Years Now

I first heard of Champix (Chantix in the U.S.), otherwise known as varenicline, in May 2007.  By July 2008 I had already learned enough about it to arrive at the conclusion that it should never have been passed as if it were safe for use in the UK, Canada or Australia because it was already clear it was causing serious harm in the United States.  Before another year had gone by I had made it an express aim of the Truth Will Out Campaign to call for the withdrawal of this extremely unpredictable killer drug.  (See Homepage for the original aims of The T.W.O. Campaign.)

That was two years ago.  The foot-dragging of medical authorities all over the world with regard to this evil medication has become truly obscene.   Most recently, New Zealand’s medicines approval body Pharmac – which had hesitated over Champix because of serious concerns regarding its safety – finally did a special ‘package deal’ with Pfizer involving the licensing of a number of drugs, including Champix, making it shockingly clear that their former concerns about the safety of New Zealand smokers could be negotiated away if the price was right.  Never mind that the link with suicides was already well established.  Never mind the fact that by this time, it was apparent that the true success rate of the drug (at the one-year follow-up stage) was only about 14%.  The press in New Zealand churned out the familiar marketing hype about the 55% ‘success rate’ once achieved at the 12 week stage in clinical trials, and a Pfizer spokesperson added the  platitude that the “benefits outweighed the risks”.  What they really meant was, the benefits to THEM outweighed any risks to smokers lives, jobs, health, relationships, liberty etc. as far as THEY were concerned… risks which Pfizer continue to deny can be conclusively linked to the drug anyway.

*Would you like to reply to that denial?  If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.  If you live elsewhere, Google “How do I report a bad reaction to a medication in…” (wherever)*

Smokers’ Testimony Doesn’t Count

… as far as Pfizer are concerned, that is.  This is why I encourage all those smokers who have suffered a bad reaction to report it, and make sure their doctor uses the official channels to make that report count.  And although a recent report  found that Champix/Chantix was 18 times more likely to be associated with violent behaviour than any of the other 484 drugs in the study – making it the worst offender of all in terms of aggressive reactions – that is STILL only using the data from the limited number of cases where an official complaint was made against the medication.

Smokers’ testimony counts here, though, on Truth Will Out.  Already we know, from such testimony, that:

– many smokers are STILL not being warned about ANY risks associated with the medication

– many doctors and other medical personnel don’t know much about risks anyway, or dismiss it as ‘media hype’

– many smokers are okay on the drug at first.  THEN it gets nasty

– early results seem much more promising than long-term outcomes actually are

– the last two points have generated massive amounts of PREMATURE praise for the drug

– many sufferers of bad reactions did not know that the drug was to blame

– very bad side effects continue in some people long after coming off the drug.

It seems inevitable that suicidal or violent behaviour in individual cases over the last four years may well have been blamed on the individual rather than the drug.  In court cases or inquests all over the world it seems likely that the connection would probably have been missed, or perhaps dismissed as an attempted excuse.  Certainly the actor Nicolas Williams was thought by some commentators at the time to be using that connection as a way of getting off an assault charge, when he was cleared by a court last June.  But how many have been convicted?

In July last year, Andrew Case  killed his two young daughters and his wife, then hanged himself.  He had been taking Champix, but at the inquest it was stated that none of the drug was found in his blood.  Did the people conducting that inquest fully understand that the horror continues for many Champix victims, sometimes long after the drug is discontinued?  PRETTY IMPORTANT FACT TO BE AWARE OF, DON’T YOU THINK?

A Sure-Fire Way To Get At The Truth About Champix

When people die by their own hand – or as a result of violence, there is always a post-mortem examination.  In this country, and I’m sure in many others, if that person is on any medication from their doctor, a note of this is made as part of the post-mortem and inquest proceedings.  However, if they blew their brains out with a shotgun – or someone else’s brains – then the cause of death is recorded as Death By Shooting.  If they were taking Champix at the time, the cause of death is listed as… Death By Shooting.  This means if Champix really caused that death, Pfizer got away with it.

I suggest that the obvious thing to do is to look back over ALL the violent deaths and suicides which have happened over the last four years, and find out how many of those people were taking Chantix or Champix at the time.  Then compare this information with the same types of cases in the previous four years before that, to see if the Great Global Champix Experiment threw up a spike in the incidence of violent assault, murder and suicide.   Might also be a good idea for anyone accused or convicted of violent behaviour during that time to check for a Champix connection if that was not the way they usually behave.  I’m sure this kind of information could be demanded by anyone under the Freedom of Information Act here in the UK, or obtained by lawyers involved in cases against Pfizer over Chantix/Champix.  Even though this would still be missing the cases where the drug was bought, not prescribed, it would be a very good indicator of the drug’s actual role in all these horror stories and – even if not conclusive in any individual case – enough to get the monstrous concoction banned.

That inevitable event cannot come soon enough.  How many more have to die, Doc?

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