*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Why Champix Should Be Withdrawn Immediately by Chris Holmes
Finally – and this has taken far too long – the call has begun for Champix to be withdrawn from sale because of the dreadful damage it has done to so many smokers and their families.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?