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Pharmaceutical Litigation: Surge of Lipitor Lawsuits Against Pfizer

Sales of Lipitor since the 1990s have exceeded a staggering $130 billion - the current all time high for prescription drugs, yet a number of diabetes related lawsuits are being filed related to the drug.

August 7, 2014.  The big pharma giant corporation Pfizer, is facing a large number of pharmaceutical litigations, i.e.,  lawsuits by women who allege that the drug manufacturer knew about serious diabetes side effects of its anti-cholesterol medication Lipitor but failed to warn the patients and doctors.

Recently the number of federal lawsuits filed by injured women claiming diabetes as a result of Lipitor has exceed 1,000 cases.

Lawsuits allege that Pfizer knew or should have known about this potential side effect for years, and failed to provide accurate information to patients or doctors about the potential diabetes risk or the importance of closely monitoring blood glucose levels to see if Lipitor affects glucose metabolism.

Type 2 diabetes from Lipitor may cause users of the cholesterol drug to face an increased risk of heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, kidney disease and other complications. In addition, individuals must undergo regular blood testing of glucose levels, adhere to restrictive diabetic diet and take medication to control diabetes.

FDA Lipitor Warning

According to plaintiffs' claims, women face a higher risk than men of developing diabetes from Lipitor, without significant benefits. In February 2012, the FDA required the makers of Lipitor, Crestor and other statins to add new warnings about the potential impact of the medication on blood glucose levels. According to many experts, the warnings are not strong enough for certain medications, indicating that patients and the doctors should be provided with more accurate information about the diabetes risks with Lipitor, Crestor and other statins.

Lipitor Blockbuster Drug

Lipitor is the best-selling prescription drug ever, with mind boggling global sales of more than $130 billion since its release in 1996. In the US alone, more than 29 million patients have consumed the medication.

Lipitor is an anticholesterol drug in a class of drugs known as Statins. Statins block the liver's production of cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease.

According to Pfizer, Lipitor did not cause the plaintiffs' diabetes. Women who are prescribed Lipitor to control cholesterol may share other risk factors that make them vulnerable to the disease, such as high blood pressure or obesity, the company said.

Federal Bellwether Trials

The federal Lipitor litigation is consolidation for pre-trial coordination in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina. The first Lipitor trial is scheduled in July 2015 before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, and will be one of several so-called "bellwethers" used to gauge the strength of other cases.

Pfizer has not indicated that it has set aside any money specifically to cover potential future Lipitor judgments, according to its most recent quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Originally posted in The Legal Examiner by Shezad Malik

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