Relevant to these arguments is whether the label sufficiently alerted medical professionals that their patients could suffer neuropsychiatric injuries from taking Chantix as prescribed. . . . Thus the court must consider the failure to warn claim in light of the warning’s intended audience, medical doctors.
Unlike the majority cases reviewed by this court, the plaintiffs seek to pursue their failure to warn claims post the 2009 black box warning, not for failing to warn of possible complications from Chantix, but for failing to tell physicians when to prescribe it.
Yet surely the decision as to use a medication as a first-line treatment is uniquely up to the prescribing medical professional and based on a decision concerning his or her individual patient.
Rather, as other courts have recognized, it is the responsibility of the physician as a learned intermediary to assess the risks and benefits of a particular course of treatment.
[O]nly health-care professionals are in a position to understand the significance of the risks involved and to assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of a given form of prescription-based therapy. The duty then devolves on the health-care provider to supply to the patient such information as is deemed appropriate under the circumstances so that the patient can make an informed choice as to therapy.
In other words, the label clearly sets forth potential side effects of Chantix. The decision to prescribe the medication anyway, given the severity of those side effects, is solely within the realm of medical judgment. An abuse or misuse of that judgment by a physician is far outside the scope of this action.