by Chris Holmes
*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.*
It’s not just doctors that are failing to warn smokers about the more deadly serious side-effects of Champix Chantix. The so-called “public health charity” Action on Smoking and Health (A.S.H.) have conspicuously failed to update their advice to smokers and health professionals in the light of all the horror-stories over the past eighteen months, choosing instead to take their lead from N.I.C.E., the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, who don’t seem to have updated their recommendations about Chantix Champix since 2007.
N.I.C.E. seem to have adopted the position that “Clinical Excellence” means taking forever and a day to even acknowledge the fact that a medication is causing unnecessary deaths, and then to not really do anything about it anyway, except perhaps issue some “new guidelines”. If the guidelines are ignored by G.P.s they wring their hands and say it is “unacceptable”, and that’s about it.
Put simply, these people don’t really care if Chantix Champix kills you. Or your mother, or your best friend, or your son. Not enough to actually do anything about it anyway. They won’t withdraw any medications just because it becomes obvious that prescribing them significantly increases the risk of serious illness or death. They won’t even do anything about it if they know for sure that dangerous medications are being routinely mis-prescribed.
Here comes the Science Bit
Witness the atypical anti-psychotic drugs like Olanzapine and Quetiapine which last year were reckoned – in a conservative estimate, since these were only the fatalities that were officially reported – to have killed 700 people in the previous five years in the U.K. alone. Of the estimated 150,000 elderly patients being precribed these drugs, somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 shouldn’t be, according to the Director of Research for the Alzheimers Society, Professor Clive Ballard of Kings College London. Commenting on this on BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme in June 2008, N.I.C.E.’s reviewer of the use of these medications, Dr Tim Kendall said that in his opinion, doctors mis-prescribing such dangerous medications should be disciplined by the General Medical Council.
Well, they haven’t been. So now, more than one year on, more prescriptions, more deaths, no-one held responsible, no-one about to be held responsible.
This isn’t Clinical Excellence. It is a Licence to Kill.
Back to The Great Chantix Champix Experiment
Given this incredibly lax system, why should GP’s trouble themselves to find out whether the drugs they have been advised to prescribe actually have horrific side-effects such as severe psychiatric disturbances which can lead to suicide? Why should they be anxious about it? Nothing is going to happen to the GP if he or she loses an elderly patient to Olanzapine or a smoker to Chantix Champix.
Only this morning a woman who has been a contributor to this blog on a number of occasions, Jane, emailed me to tell me how her doctor had just offered her Champix again, despite the fact she had a bad reaction to it the last time. He apparently knew little about the suicides and other severe side effects, so she directed him to this site right then, during the consultation.
Do you get this, A.S.H.? Are you appreciating the astonishing and horrifying irony of this, N.I.C.E.? I’M EDUCATING DOCTORS, NOW. ME, A HYPNOTHERAPIST. They’re having to find out from Truth Will Out about the horrors that Chantix Champix can inflict upon their patients, because you aren’t making it clear enough or acting fast enough, and it’s all because you are way too close to the drug companies to have the patients’ best interests at heart.
Cash In on Smoking and Health
Action on Smoking and Health (A.S.H.) are officially a public health charity. According to their own official story, they came into existence because “a group of concerned doctors” were unhappy that not enough was being done by the Department of Health to deal with the smoking issue. All very commendable, you might think – so you would then expect that the safety and health of smokers was their main concern and anything that could be proven to help smokers quit consistently would be championed by them.
Not so. Only drug company products are championed by them, and they routinely mislead smokers about all alternative methods (see the Evidence section of this site). In November of 2007, the then Director of ASH Deborah Arnott was forced to apologise to The Allen Carr Easyway International organisation for rubbishing their claims to a 53% success rate with smokers at twelve-month follow-up… a success rate far higher than any of the drug methods ASH routinely promote.
So she apologised. And agreed to pay Easyway’s legal costs for the case. Did she then direct ASH to start recommending the superior, and now proven Easyway method? No, they continue to completely ignore it, which proves that they do NOT have the interests of smokers at heart, they are simply a shop window for drug companies POSING as a public health charity.
ASH are not even up to date regarding the failure rates and the dangers of the drug products they push. Do they explain to smokers that the nicotine replacement products are proven to have a 93.5% failure rate when the results are reviewed at twelve-month follow-up, according to the 2008 report by Borland et al? Do they also warn smokers that the same report found that this failure rate rose to 97.4% if they just got those products from their GP, which means that all the expertise and the efforts of the specialist NHS Stop Smoking Services made a difference of less than 4% across the board – which, by the way, is not “four times more likely to succeed”?
No. And they don’t tell smokers that Champix carries the risk of very serious, even fatal side effects, and won’t work anyway for over 80% of smokers when results are reviewed at one year, which of course is a worse performance than the original trials suggested. Not surprising really, since drug trials these days certainly aren’t as ‘scientific’ as they used to be (see “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” on this site).
Just in case you think ASH should be forgiven for not getting around to any serious warnings yet, just take a look at this, from December 2007: Medical News Today So, why still no mention of any of this by Action on Smoking and Health twenty-one months later? Simple: they are not really a public health charity at all. If they were, they would be recommending hypnotherapy and the Allen Carr method as the two methods that have consistently proven themselves most effective so far. They are also the safest methods. Instead they continue to recommend Chantix Champix and Zyban, both of which have caused deaths. So much for “a group of concerned doctors”! What were they “concerned” about, drug company profits?
Lowest of the Low: The Internet Drug Dealers
Now look at this, which purports to be a “Trusted Information Bank” about Champix (Chantix). At the base of the page, a disclaimer states “We don’t encourage the buying and selling of Chantix without prescription”, which is a weird thing to claim when you can buy it right there, via the site! It mentions nothing about any dangers, but says:
“Chantix is the latest blockbuster drug approved by the FDA on May 11, 2006 that is indicated as an aid to quit smoking. Manufactured by Pfizer Inc., Chantix offers a new approach, different from the existing smoking cessation therapies to quit smoking.”
It does not mention that the drug is now under investigation by the FDA for serious side effects. Instead it uses crude scare-tactics in the first two, very badly written partagraphs about the dangers of smoking to suggest that Chantix is your ‘only hope’, if you are a smoker, to escape ‘certain death’. The site is called ChantixMagic and it is dangerously devoid of any serious warnings about how this medication could wreck your life or even end it.
ASH: Stop pretending to be a Public Health Charity with smokers’ interests as your primary concern – you are BUSTED!
NICE: Stop sitting on your hands while smokers are actively encouraged to use dangerous medications without being properly informed about the risks. Allen Carr was right: therapies like ours work far better, so stop pretending they don’t – the public are becoming increasingly aware of these facts, despite all the misinformation generated by the “systematic review” ploy and the bloody Cochrane Library! The truth is a different matter – you’ll end up losing ALL your credibility, and so will the medical profession generally if you allow the Global Drug Pushers to keep running the show.
Doctors: Don’t prescribe Champix Chantix! You haven’t been properly informed, do some independent detective work on the internet – just Google “Champix Suicides”, and have a read of that lot. Then ask yourself: would you put a member of your family on that stuff? Do you trust Pfizer enough, when they sidestep the issue by saying that there’s no causal link proven – which of course is quite different from saying that there’s no causal link – to risk the life of a loved one? Haven’t Pfizer just been ordered to pay a truly collosal sum for the offence of “fraudulent marketing”?
All your smoking patients are somebody’s loved one. Hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method (which is a form of hypnotherapy anyway) and acupuncture have all scored better long term results in scientific trials, and all carry NO RISK. Look at the Evidence section here, and elsewhere on the web.
Folks, if you share these concerns please help by spreading the word: Truth Will Out is about Health Care, not Health Risk. There are safer and more successful ways to quit – don’t take the suicide pills.