The pharmaceutical company Pfizer, who manufactures and distributes Lipitor, is facing a class-action lawsuit with more than 4,000 plaintiffs – and more lawsuits are filed every day. These suits alleges that some women who used Lipitor to help control their cholesterol have developed Type 2 diabetes as a result, and that Pfizer was aware of the risk of the disease yet put the product on the market anyway.
Lipitor was first put on the market in 1996. As one of the best-selling prescription medications on the market, Lipitor earned Pfizer more than $130 billion between its introduction to the market and 2012. But in 2012, the Food and Drug Administration forced Pfizer to start putting warning labels on Lipitor about the potential increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
In 2013, plaintiffs asked for their cases to be consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) proceedings. Unlike a class-action lawsuit, where multiple claimants file one lawsuit together, MDL keeps each lawsuit separate – but all of those lawsuits will go to one judge as opposed to judges all over the country. MDL allows the courts to process the claims more quickly.
Since the initial MDL was filed, a class-action lawsuit has also been filed against Pfizer.
Why Lipitor may be dangerous
Lipitor is a statin drug which works by “blocking the action of the liver enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol.” Statins can affect how a person’s body processes insulin, and as a group may increase a person’s risk of developing:
- High blood sugar
- Muscle problems, including Rhabdomyolysis which may lead to kidney failure
- Nausea, bloating or cramping
- Memory loss or cognitive difficulties
- Liver damage
At the crux of the lawsuit is not whether Lipitor increases your risk of developing diabetes – all statin drugs carry that risk – but whether Pfizer willingly or purposefully excluded that information from its warning labels between 1996 and 2012. There is also debate about whether or not the dug has harmed the quality of life of the plaintiffs. One the one hand, lowering your cholesterol can make you healthier and help you live longer; on the other hand, diabetes is a serious disease. What appears to be very clear, however, is that women who took the drug should have been allowed to asses those risks for themselves before they agreed to take it.
Lipitor lawsuits are still being filed by patient throughout Maryland and the U.S. For more information about filing a suit, or about dangerous drugs, please contact Plaxen & Adler, P.A.