The New Zealand government has said that it will continue to fund the quit-smoking drug Champix even though a major New Zealand study has shown that the drug might be linked to depression and even suicide, according to a story by Brook Sabin for TV3.
The government, which has spent almost $35 million subsidising Champix for 100,000 people, believes that the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks.
However, health officials have told the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, to make the risks of taking the drug clearer in the fine print.
A major study that 3 News obtained under the Official Information Act monitored almost 13,000 Champix users, with the youngest being just 14 years of age.
The study was said to have found 710 psychiatric events with a possible link to Champix, including 250 related to sleep disorders, 154 related to depression and 80 related to anxiety. Six people committed suicide, with four of the cases potentially linked to Champix.
Pfizer told 3 News that an overseas trial had found no evidence of increased psychiatric problems.
Category: Breaking News