Anti-smoking pill may be real deal

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: There's a new drug for smokers trying to quit. It's called Chantix. A study out today says it's the real deal. Now — wink, wink — the maker of the drug paid for the study. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Helen Palmer reports from the Health Desk at WGBH.


HELEN PALMER: The Journal of the American Medical Association study notes prominently that drug company Pfizer paid for and helped design the clinical trials for Chantix.

But report author Mitchell Nides says independent researchers and the FDA approved the methodology, which tested both the drug and a placebo.

MITCHELL NIDES: All the patients and we were all blinded to which medication people are on. Plus we independently verify all the results before we publish the data.

According to the study, Chantix helped 14% of subjects kick the smoking habit long-term. That's nearly three times the rate of those who got the placebo.

Pfizer's selling Chantix for about $3.20 a pill. Smokers spend at least $300 million a year on aids to help them quit.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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