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Europeans Chew on Pfizer's Chantix as Americans Turn Away

kindler.jpgPfizer's smoking cessation product, Chantix, seems to be going down the path of Exubera in the U.S.: Sales were down 49 percent to $96 million in America, and down globally by 24 percent to $182 million, making it a marginal drug for Pfizer.

But in foreign territories, sales were up 60 percent to $86 million. Essentially, Americans have walked away from the drug based on its safety reputation, but for some reason Europeans (and everyone else) are still taking the stuff.

That may change. The WSJ reports today that Chantix is the most-complained about drug at the FDA, which cannot help the brand's reputation. Patients have reported traffic accidents and blackouts.

So, will Pfizer kill off the brand, as it did with Exubera, another of Pfizer's underperformers? Pharmalot's Ed Silverman put that question to CEO Jeff Kindler and CFO Frank D'Amelio.

Kindler: Clearly, it has had challenges in light of three labeling changes made over the last year. But having said that, this is a very innovative and valuable medication and, when properly used by right patients, can provide enormous benefit in stopping an important and serious cause of death in the world - smoking. The benefits are substantial. We are continuing a host of ways to properly communicate all relevant information aobut the product to make it available.

D'Amelio: We're continuing to invest. We just launched a multi-channel ad campaign. Yes, US sales were down, but international sales were up 60 percent yearr to date, and overall global sales were up. You know, $660 million in sales cumulatively through nine months is a nice product.
$660 million is indeed nice, unless of course your development costs and marketing are a lot more than that ...
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