Judge Denies Motion to Consolidate Lipitor Personal Injury Lawsuits
After three months of deliberation, a panel for multidistrict litigations (MDLs) has decided that it will not consolidate all of the Lipitor Type2 diabetes lawsuits into one MDL.
The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, in its order, wrote that “in particular, almost half of the actions currently comprising this litigation are pending in a single district—the District of South Carolina, and many of the actions involve common plaintiffs’ counsel. The South Carolina actions already are proceeding in a coordinated fashion before one judge.”
The primary purpose for creating an MDL is “common discovery,” and Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, indicated that they were willing to work with plaintiffs during pretrial proceedings.
The Lipitor personal injury lawsuits revolve around a common claim that patient developed Type 2 diabetes after taking the statin drug for high cholesterol for a few years. Their claims are supported by two recent research studies.
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.
Another study published in the British Medical Journal in May 2013 clearly established a link between Lipitor and Type 2 diabetes. The study showed that women are the highest-risk group.
“The subject actions do share factual issues arising from allegations that taking Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor can result in the development of type 2 diabetes, and that Pfizer failed adequately to warn consumers of this problem,” the federal judges noted. “The number of actions pending in this litigation might, in other circumstances, be sufficient to justify centralization.”
“Virtually all the complaints in these actions cite a label change for the drug – as well as other statins – informing patients that increases in blood sugar levels had been reported with statin use,” the judges wrote. But despite a label change in February 2012, “only a relative handful of actions have been brought actually alleging a link between an individual’s ingestion of Lipitor and the development of type 2 diabetes.”
Most recently, a Texas woman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Pfizer, after she developed Type 2 diabetes. Barbara Henson filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Texas, Marshall Division. She was prescribed Lipitor to help manage her cholesterol and prevent heart disease in 2006. In 2009, she developed Type 2 diabetes.
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