PFE sold nearly a quarter-billion dollars worth of Chantix in the third quarter. But it will be interesting to see the fourth quarter numbers after the FDA and its UK equivalent recently told doctors to be on the lookout for abnormal behavior among their Chantix patients. Australia has already gone so far as to put a warning on the drug about the possibility of feeling depressed, agitated or thinking about suicide while taking Champix. Eventually, some say the same thing will happen here.
A couple of other noteworthy findings of the Pfizer survey: 45 percent said concerns about health problems were a major factor in their decision to quit and 28 percent said the cost of smokes influenced them. Not a coincidence, I'm guessing, that another new ad appears on "The New York Times" web site homepage today that says, "Calculate how much your smoking habit costs." The survey participants hadn't taken a puff for at least a year.
Interestingly, yesterday when the Dow and the American pharma sector tanked, PFE shares were up a fraction. Maybe it was a dog of the Dow thing on the first trading day of the year--Pfizer was one of the index's worst performers in 2007. It started this year not much off of its low of 22 bucks and change, so it could be investor bargain hunting and/or the still-attractive dividend. Pfizer's obviously hoping Chantix sales will help "light up" the stock this year.
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