South Carolina Might Be Base for Lipitor MDL
South Carolina could become the home base for a multidistrict litigation (MDL) against pharmaceutical manufacturing giant Pfizer, Inc, and their most popular drug, Lipitor.
Dozens of plaintiffs across the United States have filed injury lawsuits against the manufacturer, alleging that the blockbuster drug Lipitor causes Type 2 diabetes, particularly in patients who are otherwise healthy.
To date, at least five different lawsuits have been filed alleging Lipitor problems, in three different US District Courts. Creating an MDL for these lawsuits would prevent duplicate discovery, avoid conflicting rulings, and serve convenience of witnesses, plaintiffs, and the courts. The motion indicated that numerous other complaints could be expected in the future.
Lipitor is the brand name of a statin drug called atorvastatin. Statin drugs are used to lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease, and also stabilizes plaque and prevents strokes through anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Lipitor, as with other statins, inhibits the creation of a liver enzyme that plays a key role in cholesterol production in the body.
A study, published in January 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that patients who took Lipitor – particularly women – between the ages of 50 and 79 were 48% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Researchers looked at 160,000 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) between 1993 and 2005. Compared to women not taking Lipitor, women on the drug had a 1/3 increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within 9 years. This is a significant increase compared to studies conducted in previous years. In early 2012, the FDA required Pfizer to update Lipitor’s label to include the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Few of the patients filing lawsuits are overweight, which is another factor in development of Type 2 diabetes. Many of the women who are filing lawsuits against the drug manufacturer have a healthy body mass index (BMI) – between 25 and 29.9.
In the lawsuits, Pfizer is accused of aggressive marketing and withholding information. Although Pfizer recently updated their warning labels, plaintiffs believe that the pharmaceutical company knew about the link between Lipitor and Type 2 diabetes, and reported those studies to the FDA. Researchers involved in the JAMA study also commented that misleading information in direct-to-consumer advertising could have influenced the number of Lipitor prescriptions, as patients came to believe the drug was their best option and asked their doctor for that specific medication.
Lipitor became available as a generic drug in 2011.
The Strom Law Firm Is Now Investigating Lipitor Cases
Although many doctors believe that the benefits of statins such as Lipitor outweigh the risks, patients who are otherwise healthy disagree. Type 2 diabetes carries the risk of a wide variety of different side effects, including increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage or neuropathy, kidney damage, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, skin and mouth conditions, and diabetic macular edema, which can lead to blindness.
The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm are currently investigating claims that taking Lipitor is related to development of Type 2 diabetes. There may be a limited time to file a claim, so contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800