Pfizer Faces Growing Number of Lawsuits from Women with Lipitor Injuries
Blockbuster pharmaceutical company Pfizer faces a growing multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the state of South Carolina alleging that Lipitor caused thousands of plaintiffs to develop Type 2 diabetes – and many of the plaintiffs are women.
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.
Federal court filings show that in the past five months, since the MDL was consolidated in South Carolina, the number of female plaintiffs in the Lipitor litigation has gone up from 56 to almost 1,000.
In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration warned that Lipitor and other statins had been linked to memory loss and weight gain that led to a “small increased risk” of developing Type 2 diabetes. Statin drugs protect patients from cardiac incidents, but developing Type 2 diabetes can increase stress on the heart, as well as lead to other complications related to the chronic illness.
The first case in the MDL, consolidated in a federal courtroom in Charleston, SC, will begin with a bellwether case in July 2015.
The FDA emphasized that they still stand behind the Lipitor labeling change, although they have released a statement that the benefits of statins outweigh the risks:
Clearly, we think that the heart benefit of statins outweighs this small increased risk (for diabetes),” Amy Egan, a deputy director for safety at the agency’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology, said in a statement at the time.
All of the lawsuits in the 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 original Lipitor 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.
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