'Feathers' has since left PE, but his legacy is continued embarrassment for his former employers. You may remember his making these claims in what looked suspiciously like a paid-for commercial for Pfizer products.
Varenicline is the most cost-effective treatment option in the NHS Stop Smoking Service. Studies consistently demonstrate it to be superior to any other therapy, but it is only used in 20% of cases. Varenicline should be offered as first line drug treatment for all patients wishing to quit smokingWell, Feathers may have seen 'no good reason', but then considering the pre-determined outcome he was aiming for, he didn't look very far.
The NHS Stop Smoking Service should offer varenicline as first line drug treatment for all patients wishing to quit smoking.
the [NHS] only prescribes varenicline in 20% of cases, since it is often confined to patients who have failed with NRT. There is no good reason why all patients should not be offered it.
A study just out couldn't be more clear how very wrong Featherstone was.
A new study finds that the smoking-cessation drug varenicline (Pfizer's Chantix) has too poor a safety profile to make it suitable for first-line use. Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and other research centers in the US, found the drug, known as Champix outside the US, was 8 times more likely to result in reports of suicidal behavior or depression than nicotine replacement products. They report their findings in the 2 November issue of PLoS One, an online journal of the Public Library of Science.Oh dear. Not good news for Policy Exchange, that.
[Study co-author Dr Curt D.] Furberg and colleagues found that 90% of all reported suicides linked to smoking cessation drugs since 1998 involved varenicline, even though the drug had only been on the market for 4 of the almost 13 years they covered.Hmm. Pretty unequivocal then. And it just gets worse. It seems that Featherstone's advice was not just wrong, but deeply irresponsible to boot.
Lead author Thomas J. Moore, senior scientist at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, says:Plenty of 'good reasons' there, eh Henry?
"While suicidal behavior or depression appear to be prominent side effects of varenicline, they are by no means the only safety issues."
He explains that the drug already carries a warning about the fact studies have found links between its use and aggression and violence.
"Its effects on vision, cognition and motor control and other risks have led to its being banned for airline pilots, air traffic controllers, military pilots and missile crews, and restricted for truck drivers,"
It's been a year since Feathers left, but his vested interest idiocy is still making Policy Exchange blush.
What a plonker.