February 5, 2015 — The first “bellwether” trial in a federal Lipitor litigation has been set for October, and the plaintiff is a woman who used the cholesterol-lowering statin for 15 years before she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.
The plaintiff is a resident of Colorado who started taking Lipitor in 1998 to control high cholesterol.
She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2004 despite maintaining a healthy weight. She accuses Pfizer of failing to adequately warn about the side effect.
The FDA still believes the heart benefits of Lipitor outweigh the risk of diabetes, but they warn that statins can slightly elevate blood-sugar levels. They now recommend blood-glucose testing for some patients on Lipitor.
According to the lawsuit:
“For the rest of her life she must undergo regular testing of her blood glucose levels, adhere to a restrictive diabetic diet, and take medication to control her diabetes. Due to her diabetes, she is now at markedly increased risk of heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney disease.”
Her lawsuits was filed in federal court in Colorado in February 2014.Soon afterward, federal judges centralized the litigation in South Carolina. Now, over 1,600 lawsuits are centralized under U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel.
Judge Gergel recently rejected Pfizer’s bid to dismiss 10 lawsuits, ruling that federal law does not preempt failure-to-warn claims made by plaintiffs in Texas.