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Chantix, Zyban may be covered by Medicare
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The big drug companies have been wary of the Obama administration’s push for health care reform. But there’s speculation that the legislation making its way through Congress could be a boon for at least one Pfizer product. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The provisions of the Senate Finance committee’s health care reform bill are many and varied, and among them is a requirement that Medicaid pay for smoking cessation drugs. The Wall Street Journal points out that this would be likely to help sales of products like Pfizer’s Chantix and GlaxoSmithKline’s Zyban. At the moment, there is some coverage under Medicaid in a limited number of states, but the picture is spotty. Anti-smoking advocates are pressing for the legislation to go even further, requiring Medicare and private insurance companies to cover the drugs as well. Chantix, which was developed at labs in Connecticut, was well received when it launched, but has been dogged with problems since, as psychiatric side effects were discovered. The drug now has to carry a black box warning highlighting mental health risks.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.