Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Champix off the approved list in France: risks outweigh benefits

They kept this one quiet. (Or have I been asleep for a week?) Hat tip Chris Holmes.
The pill, called Champix in Europe and Chantix in the U.S. but known generically as varenicline, has been tied to everything from violent rages to suicidal thoughts. Reported side effects of Chantix have led to hundreds of lawsuits nationwide, including one filed last month in Pennsylvania following a 2009 murder-suicide.
French health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Tuesday he decided to remove the drug from a list of approved treatments available for reimbursement through his country’s social security funds because of questions about its safety.
About bloody time. Well done the French Health Minister. Some recent history is also included in this report:
In another controversy surrounding the drug, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late last week that Pfizer had been asked last year to resubmit thousands of reports on adverse events related to Chantix, a request that came after it was revealed the company had not sent the information through proper channels.
The adverse-event information had been sent as a periodic safety summary rather than as a report required within 15 days for unexpected or fatal events, the FDA said.
I could comment but time is short today. Chris has already said what had to be said (comment 5):
Medical authorities the world over CLAIM to have the best interests of patients at heart. They CLAIM to be approaching these problems logically and scientifically.
Therefore it should be standard practice everywhere to try all safe methods FIRST, and only proceed to methods that involve any risk at all if none of the safe methods work. It is an absolute no-brainer. Hypnotherapy, acupuncture and the Allen Carr approach (which is a mild form of hypnotherapy anyway) have all proven themselves to be more effective in the long term than any of the meds, and they all involve NO RISK.
Why are they not being used as a priority to avoid damage to patients? Because of the massive lobbying power of global drug giants and their immoral influence over politicians and medical authorities.
It’s corruption, and it is killing people. Think I’m exaggerating, calling this sort of thing corruption? Check this out: GlaxoSmithKline have just revealed how much cash they lavished on Australian doctors and other medical personnel last year alone: over two million dollars, of which $371,659 was just to go on merry junkets to conferences abroad. In the age of the internet, none of this is necessary but it certainly makes people feel important, doesn’t it? Would YOU like an all-expenses paid trip to Vienna? But that’s nothing: in the same period GSK spent a staggering $96,000,000 on doctors in the USA (link here). Why? Because money talks.
But so do smokers! Spread the word, don’t risk the slimy meds. Even Pfizer can’t force their drugs down your throat. Doctors, I keep telling you: you’ll miss your credibility when it’s finally gone forever. You are signing it away with your own prescriptions pads with dodgy drugs like Champix, every working day of your lives.
BUT HOORAY FOR THE FRENCH HEALTH MINISTER! Monsieur Xavier Bertrand, I salute you! Bravo!
He's right. Champix is a drug that is being used to treat something that is far from being universally recognised as a sickness: the desire to give up smoking. And it's not only not the safest option, it's got a known track record (and I don't mean in getting people off tobacco). So let's stop spending our 'health' money on it.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Surprised you missed this, I tweeted it the day it was announced ... World No Tobacco Day, no less. :)

Belinda said...

I was away from home with limited internet access last week.

I like the irony. Do you think the French Health Minister did it deliberately?

Xopher said...

Chris wrote " Even Pfizer can’t force their drugs down your throat. "
Surely they can if you're in a secure institution such as a British 'mental institution'. Once you're in there your rights are so reduced that a Pfizer empowered anti-smoking doctor, with the backing of NICE and, of course our own unbiased ASH, can prescribe against your will.

Bring on the writs if Champix is declared unsafe!

Belinda said...

Yes if you're in there, you might be helpless. All the more reason for the rest of us to not be helpless, and to write to NHS and MSPs.

Anonymous said...

I took this anti smoking drug and did not realise what was happening to me. People close to me told me after I had recovered that I had become like a zombie.
I was virtually ‘obeying’ everything that was suggested even though in normality I would have never agreed to.
My mind was sort of taken over to be receptive to any suggestions no matter how alien to my normal persona.
Maybe this is the role of this awful drug ?
To either influence smokers to kill themselves or for them to become subservient.
We know that smokers are despised and hated and what better way to rid the world of people that have now been denormalised by the anti smoking zealots.
What will it be used for next ? Alcohol ? ‘unhealthy’ foods etc.
In the end only the health freaks and righteous will survive.
Eugenics in a bottle ??

Anonymous said...

But as F2C noted itself, New Zealand's Pharmac (I hope to its eternal shame!)last year did a deal with Pfizer to allow Champix in, in exchange for cheap deals on a few other drugs - in a complete reversal of its previous position.

And that remains the situation today.
Mass advertising began shortly afterward.
Utter corruption.

The anti-smoking zealots are embedded in the MoH, & Govt lazily & uncritically takes - even relies on! - advice from them.

One can only imagine the conversations... perhaps "they're only smokers" (and are going to die soon anyway) or some-such...




The outlook is still bleak, in my opinion...

But hey!

Despite the weather...

Carry On!!

Cheers ;=})

Ross Matheson