Lawsuit over Pfizer's disclosures before Chantix recall is dismissed

Pfizer logo in Manhattan, New York
Pfizer logo seen outside their building in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit by consumers who accused Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) of failing to disclose the presence of cancer-causing agents in Chantix before recalling the anti-smoking drug.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found no plausible allegations that Pfizer had a duty to disclose that Chantix was contaminated by a type of carcinogen known as a nitrosamine, or was unfit to help consumers quit smoking. She also found no proof that Pfizer's labels were misleading.

Plaintiffs Roslyn Harris, of Jersey City, New Jersey, and Mary Allen, of Warrensburg, New York, claimed that Chantix was "worthless" because of the contamination, and that they would not have bought the drug had they known about it.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pfizer said it was pleased with the decision. "We continue to stand behind the safety and efficacy of Chantix, which has helped millions of Americans quit cigarette smoking," it said in a statement.

Cote said that because Pfizer offered full rebates for unused Chantix, the lawsuit sought damages only for tablets that the plaintiffs consumed.

Pfizer began recalling Chantix last July, and extended the recall nationwide in mid-September. read more

The New York-based company won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2006 for Chantix to help adults quit smoking. Sales dropped 57% last year, reflecting the recall, Pfizer said this month.

The case is Harris et al v Pfizer Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-06789.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.