This morning we did back-to-back interviews on "Squawk Box" with the author of theNew York Magazine article about his experience on the smoking cessation drug Chantixand a Pfizer exec to respond to it. You can watch the segment in the video clip.
Their comments and those of one of my colleagues, which you can watch in the clip, touched a nerve. Here's just a sample of the viewer emails that poured in this morning.
Dr. Eddie Moran writes: "I am a physician who quit smoking 5 years ago using the patch. I have known at least half a dozen people who have had temporary but significant mental disturbances while using Chantix. These symptoms all resolved within 24 hours of stopping the drug. I understand this is anecdotal and not scientific."
Bob Markson calls my interview "lousy" and says, "...I have three employee's (sic) who used Chantix last year and the results are fabulous, they feel so much better and look great. They also never had any of the side effects the person in the interview talked about...."
Charles Tonkin from Marysville, OH emails: "I used Chantix for about 2 months, stopped it on Jan.5, '08, and am still having symptoms. The oft-cited depression and vivid dreams began when I first started taking it, but most of my symptoms didn't begin until after I'd stopped."
Randy Cox writes: "...Chantix was the ONLY (his emphasis) prescription that worked for me. After 30 years of chewing tobacco it not only helped me stop, but I have NOT (again, his caps) used for at least a year and a half!!!!"
William Cooper of Waco, TX says: "Chantix is great. I quit smoking after 20 years of smoking. I was so impressed with Chantix I became a Pfizer stockowner."
Judy Haight from DeLand, FL emails: "I am 57 years old and I smoked for 40 years since the age of 16. I have literally tried everything to quit. I went on Chantix and four days later, I quit and have been smoke free for 7 months."
And Andrew Polsky writes: "IT WORKED!!!!!! (his emphasis, too) Except for bad gas I had no side effects. The guy who had such bad dreams is nuts to begin with."
I met Derek de Koff for the first time this morning, albeit briefly, and he didn't strike me as "nuts." The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the reports of so-called neuropsychiatric side-effects with Chantix. In the meantime, it has issued a Public Health Advisory warning doctors, Chantix patients and people who know them to be on the lookout for unusual, possibly suicidal behavior.
I am doing a condensed report on the interviews later today on "Closing Bell" at 3 p.m. ET.
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com