France No Longer Backing Popular Stop Smoking Drug Chantix

Health Minister of France, Xavier Bertrand, announced on Tuesday that the country will pull Pfizer’s controversial stop smoking drug Champix (sold in the United States as Chantix) from the country’s register of meds eligible for reimbursement by government health insurance due to the ongoing controversy over the drug’s risks and potential harmful side effects to users. 

The decision comes amid growing problems for Pfizer and its controversial pill, which has been named in connection with suicides and violent behaviors.  Following floods of adverse reports in 2009, the FDA began requiring that the smoking cessation product carry a boxed warning to inform patients about the risk of changes in mood, behavior, and severe psychiatric side effects from use of Chantix, and is said to cause outbursts and eruptions of emotion ranging from uncontrollable anger, rage, depression, to thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.

This is the second blow to the drug and its manufacturer in as many weeks following recent reports from a non-profit watchdog group that uncovered information revealing Pfizer’s failure to correctly report more than 500 adverse reports of severe psychiatric side effects and 150 suicides to the FDA.  Although the drug company stands by the stop smoking drug’s safety and proper FDA reporting procedures, many believe Chantix’s risk-benefit ratio is severely outweighed by its risks.

With a growing number of lawsuits against Pfizer across the U.S., patients are cautioned about the potentially harmful side effects resulting from the use of Chantix, and are advised to consult with their physician about its relative beneficial value.

Disclaimer:  All use of the Chantix mark is for informational and product identification purposes only.  This post should not be taken as either medical or legal advice, but instead should act as a resource in providing general information that may be useful to the general public.  Pope McGlamry is not affiliated with the manufacturer of Chantix, Pfizer, or its distributors.