Saturday, 30 October 2010

Champix enters New Zealand list of funded drugs

Monday sees Champix made available for the first time on the New Zealand list of funded drugs, following a multi-drug deal between Pharmac, the national drug procurement body, and Pfizer. As the Champix link shows, there are well known health risks associated with this drug. The site fairly points out that people without previous psychiatric disorders have had suicidal thoughts, and advises that anyone experiencing such feelings should stop taking the medication and seek medical advice. It also lists other symptoms that have been recorded in association with Champix.

Although known to be controversial, just one of four reports on the introduction of subsidised Champix to the New Zealand health service emphasises the dangerous side effects. David Fisher's article, 'Anti-smoking drug concerns' for the New Zealand Herald opens with ten suicides linked to Champix and closes by mentioning 12,000 other adverse  reports recorded for Champix since 2007. (Champix is being monitored by Medsafe, a monitoring programme at the University of Otago.)

Radio New Zealand gives a passing caution on Champix, pointing out in a banner that that Pharmac 'will be closely monitored, and advising readers to 'try other, simpler treatments' prior to Champix.

Astonishingly two articles appear to treat Pharmac's acquisition of Champix pretty much as an indication that there's nothing to worry about. Anti smoking MPs welcome drug funding from the New Zealand Press Association, and The Quit Group welcomes funding of smoking cessation aid (press release from The Quit Group) both dwell on Champix's success as a smoking cessation drug, and how Champix will give smokers another valued option to enable them to stop smoking, at an accessible price. The Quit group piece also claims that Champix gives you a five times better chance of giving up smoking as cold turkey, while NRT doubles your chances of quitting.

Both these latter pieces stress the dangers of smoking, and the merits of giving up. Both underplay the dangers of Champix, because they are so fixated on the need to give up smoking, and unable to imagine the impact of having your life turned upside down by the effects of a drug. Congratulations, David Fisher, for keeping your eye on the ball and not forgetting what this story is really about.

Zyban also carries dangers and is not recommended for expectant mothers.

A blog here collects people's experiences of Champix ('Chantix' is its US name).

Further views are recorded in Frank Davis's Journal (including comments).

1 comment:

Eddie Douthwaite said...

"The government's drug rationing body, Nice, is to be stripped of its power to turn down new medicines for use in the NHS, ending emotive battles with patient groups but raising the spectre of a postcode lottery for care.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, believes that Nice, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, should continue to write guidelines for doctors on the best treatments for their patients, but the Guardian understands he will remove its controversial power to ban the use of drugs it considers too expensive for the benefit they offer.

The move will be greeted with enthusiasm by the pharmaceutical industry, which has opposed Nice from the outset, and by certain patient groups, set up to lobby on specific diseases, sometimes with pharma funding, that have joined cause with them in angry denunciations of Nice when drugs found to have limited benefit have been rejected.

But the decision is likely to cause consternation among the supporters of Nice, who warn of a return to the "postcode lottery" days before Nice came into being, when some patients could get the drugs they wanted on the NHS but others could not.

Critics also point out that careful scrutiny of the cost-effectiveness of drugs is essential to keep drug bills down and ensure that NHS money is not spent on medicines with very limited effect – to the detriment of other patients who may not get the care they need."

More at:-

What about NRT products with a 98.4 percent FAILURE RATE and drugs like
CHAMPIX with horrendous side effects.