Klein Lyons, has filed class actions on behalf of Canadians who were injured by Champix, a drug prescribed as a smoking cessation aid. The drug has been linked to an increased risk of suicide, suicidal ideation, depression and neuropsychiatric injury. The lead plaintiffs in the B.C. lawsuit are Patricia Clow, on behalf of her late daughter, Heidi Clow, Alicia Pickering and Nicole McIvor. Heidi Clow of Victoria, B.C. died at the age of 22. She committed suicide after being on Champix for only a few months. Nicole McIvor of Princeton B.C. required counseling for depression and was prescribed anti-depressants soon after beginning to take Champix. Her suicidal thoughts escalated to the point that she attempted suicide by deliberately trying to smash her car into an oncoming logging truck. Alicia Pickering of Sechelt began to suffer the depressive effects of Champix within days of taking the drug. Her mental health deteriorated to the point that she had to take a leave of absence from work and was ultimately hospitalized. As to the class action, Alicia says “If it saves even one soul from suffering the way I have, it’ll be worth it. I am outraged that this drug remains on the market.”
Sales of Champix began in Canada in April 2007. As of September 30, 2009, Health Canada had received 1,178 reports of adverse reactions to the drug. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration announced on July 2, 2009, that the drug would be required to carry its strongest safety warning over side effects. In Canada, on January 6, 2009, Health Canada announced that it was in “in the process of further strengthening the labeling for the drug with respect to the risk of serious psychiatric adverse effects.” To date, this hasn’t happened.
Class actions have been filed in British Columbia and Alberta. It is alleged that the drug’s manufacturers, Pfizer, Inc., and Pfizer Canada Inc., knew or ought to have known of the risks of this drug before ever marketing it in Canada, and that they failed to adequately warn Canadians of these risks. It is further alleged that the warning labels for the drug remain inadequate to this day given the serious risks of injury and death linked to this drug.
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