May 16, 2006
Pfizer gets FDA OK for anti-smoking drug Chantix
The FDA last Thursday approved Pfizer’s anti-smoking pill Chantix (formerly known as Champix) as a treatment to help cigarette smokers quit smoking. Chantix’s main ingredient, varenicline, is a new molecular entity that was granted FDA priority review due to its potential benefits to the public health, the agency said. The drug works by blocking nicotine’s pleasurable effects and reducing the craving and withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking. Chantix is expected to hit pharmacy shelves in the second half of 2006 with annual global sales estimated to peak at $900 million and only indirect competition from GlaxoSmithKline’s Zyban, an antidepressant also approved to aid in smoking cessation. Euro RSCG Life is responsible for professional advertising duties for Chantix, while Saatchi & Saatchi will handle consumer advertising. Wunderman is working on a Chantix support program.