JPML Decides to Consolidate Lipitor Personal Injury Cases in South Carolina Federal Court
On Tuesday, February 18th, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) reconsidered Lipitor plaintiffs’ request to form a multidistrict litigation against Pfizer, and concluded that there were enough lawsuits to proceed. The MDL will centralize in South Carolina federal court.
In April 2013, the JPML declined to centralize Lipitor lawsuits, stating that there were not enough personal injury cases against Pfizer to justify that type of litigation. However, there are no at least 100 lawsuits in federal court, alleging that Lipitor, a statin to help prevent heart disease, caused the plaintiffs to develop Type 2 diabetes, which not only causes other complications, but can put strain on the heart.
All of the lawsuits in the soon-to-consolidate MDL claim that Pfizer deceptively marketed Lipitor as a safe drug, which could reduce LDL more effectively, and with fewer side effects, than other statins. Plaintiffs also allege that Pfizer failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about the side effects, especially the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The JPML noted that at least 56 of the cases were “highly similar,” which means that the lawsuits could be consolidated.
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.
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.
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