The timing of the admission that Pfizer’s Chantix drug is tied to increased risk of cancer couldn’t be more convenient for the FDA or for Pfizer. On August 23, the FDA gave its theoretical ‘full approval’ to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine, which is being manufactured under a differerent label not currently on the market: Comirnaty. Less than a month later, the same pharmaceutical manufacturer concedes cancer risk with one of its drugs and is pulling it off the market.
So, is the Big Pharma company doing this because they care about patients who were taking the drug? Or is it because they are set for a government-driven windfall that is exceeding all expectations? Let’s examine its 2021 “profits” (if you can call it that amid government and employer mandates forcing millions of people to take the vaccine).
“Biotech giant Pfizer expects to generate $33.5 billion in Covid-19 vaccine sales in 2021, up from previous estimates of $26 billion, according to its second quarter earnings reports,” Forbes reported in late July. “These projections are based on the 2.1 billion doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which the company expects to manufacture and deliver by the end of the year.”
Futhermore, Pfizer suddenly has a competitor on the market: Par Pharmaceuticals’ Endo, which received FDA approval in August. Pfizer’s track record, far from suggesting they care about people quitting smoking, shows instead a profit-hungry company that seems to put patients’ interests second.
“Chantix, first approved in 2006, drew in $1.1 billion in global sales back in 2019,” Fierce Pharma notes. “The number fell 17% last year as the pandemic shuttered doctors offices. Most of Pfizer’s blockbuster sales can be attributed to its numerous price hikes over the years, according to GoodRx. In a 2018 report, the group found that Chantix’s price had more than doubled over 5 years.”
“For months, people trying to wean off smoking have faced short Chantix supplies after Pfizer halted worldwide distribution in late June,” Fierce Pharma’s report continues. “That came after the drugmaker detected unacceptable levels of potential carcinogens, known as nitrosamines, in a number of Chantix lots. Weeks later, the company recalled certain batches in the U.S.”
The FDA-Pfizer pipeline has been well-established. The former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who ran the government agency from 2017 to 2019, now sits on Pfizer’s board of directors. Pfizer has been pushing hard for booster shots to be offered to patients as young as 5 years old, which is a plan that has received Biden administration backing."