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Pfizer faces rash of lawsuits over ‘suicidal’ anti-smoking drug

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WASHINGTON — Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer faces lawsuits from some 1,200 plaintiffs in the United States who claim the anti-smoking drug Chantix causes depression or suicidal thoughts, lawyers said Thursday.

The drug, approved in almost 90 countries around the world and used by some seven million Americans, is particularly sought after at New Year’s when many smokers typically make resolutions to end their nicotine addiction.

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A federal judge in the southern US state of Alabama is reviewing the raft of lawsuits against Pfizer from former patients and relatives of those who used to take Chantix.

Lead attorney Ernest Cory accused Pfizer of negligence in bringing the drug to the US market in 2006, citing complaints from users of “neuropsychological problems” including “suicide, attempted suicide, seizure and blackouts.”

Cory told AFP that well over 100 Chantix users had actually committed suicide and estimated that 1,000 more cases would be filed against Pfizer.

“In 60 percent of the lawsuits that are filed now by individuals or their estate either an attempted suicide or a completed suicide occurs,” he said.

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Victoria Davis, a spokeswoman from the pharmaceutical giant, rejected any claims of wrongdoing.

“Pfizer acted responsibly and appropriately at all times in connection with the development, approval, and marketing of Chantix,” she said.

“There is no reliable scientific evidence that Chantix causes the neuropsychiatric events alleged in these lawsuits. Chantix is an effective treatment option for many smokers who want to quit, and we intend to defend this important medication.”

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Cory suggested it was unlikely that judge Inge Johnson, who is reviewing the centralized cases, would decide that there could be one single trial covering all the suits.

If Chantix is found to be dangerous it could be withdrawn from the US market, where sales have suffered since alleged links to depression and suicide mushroomed last year.


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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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