Pfizer Inc. CEO Must Testify in Chantix Trial, Lawyer Says

Published: Nov 19, 2012

Pfizer Inc.’s top executive must testify in court about claims the company’s anti-smoking drug Chantix causes depression and other psychiatric disorders, a lawyer for an Alabama man suing over the medication said. Attorneys for Billy Bedsole have subpoenaed Ian Read, Pfizer’s chief executive officer, and two other officials to testify live at the trial of Bedsole’s claims that the anti- smoking drug caused his breakdown and forced him to be institutionalized, said Ernest Cory, one of Bedsole’s lawyers. U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson has denied Pfizer’s request to throw out the subpoenas, Cory added. The trial, which would be the first patient lawsuit over Chantix to be heard by a jury, is slated for Jan. 22, 2013, in federal court in Florence, Alabama, according to court records. “I think the jury will look forward to having Mr. Read testify in Alabama and he should look forward to defending Chantix,” Cory said in an interview today. Last month, New York-based Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, reached a confidential settlement with the widow of a Minnesota man who killed himself after taking Chantix. The case on behalf of the family of Mark Alan Whitely had been slated to begin Oct. 22 in Florence.

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