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Duluth woman, Pfizer settle lawsuit over quit-smoking drug

A Duluth widow who says a smoking cessation drug led to her husband's suicide has settled her lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The trial that was scheduled to begin Monday would have been a bellwether case, since more than 2,000 similar lawsuits have been filed around the country. Terms of the settlement are confidential. Attorney Michael Ciresi says the woman is comfortable with the settlement and her family can move on.
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Judy Whitely's lawsuit against Pfizer argued that the smoking cessation drug Chantix contributed to her husband's 2007 suicide. The parties reached an out-of-court settlement days before Monday's trial date. The case would have been closely watched: more than 2,000 similar suits have been filed around the country. Whitely's was going to be the bellwether case to be heard by an Alabama judge.

The terms of the settlement were not revealed. Her attorney, Michael Ciresi, says Whitely is comfortable with the deal and the family can now move on.

The settlement came as Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, was fighting a court ruling that its CEO testify in person at the trial.

In the five years since Mark Whitely's suicide, Pfizer has strengthened its safety warnings about Chantix. But the company said this week that trials showed the drug is no more likely than a placebo to cause depression or suicidal thoughts.

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