June 6, 2013 — Pfizer, Inc. is facing a growing litigation involving allegations that they withheld risk information linking Lipitor and diabetes. The most recent Lipitor diabetes lawsuit was filed by a woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who took Lipitor for eight years before she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. She filed her claim in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana on May 13, 2013.
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a cholesterol-lowering drug that reduces fatty substances in the blood. It works by blocking an enzyme in the liver that creates cholesterol. Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs called “statins,” and it is the best-selling drug in history. Pfizer is estimated to have generated $125 billion in sales of Lipitor until it became a generic drug in 2011.
In February 2012, soon after Pfizer’s patent on Lipitor expired, Pfizer updated the risk information on Lipitor to warn it may increase blood-sugar levels (hyperglycemia). The label still does not carry warnings about the link between Lipitor and type-2 diabetes.
Plaintiff Dianne Christopher alleges that she started using Lipitor in 2003. She continued taking Lipitor until she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2011. She alleges that if she had known about the risk of diabetes, she never would have used Lipitor.
The lawsuit states:
“Had Pfizer properly warned Plaintiff of the risk associated with using Lipitor, Plaintiff would have avoided the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by either not using Lipitor or by diligently monitoring her blood glucose levels.”
Pfizer is facing at least five Lipitor diabetes lawsuits throughout the United States. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have requested the establishment of a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which would centralize future lawsuits into one court. Pfizer has opposed this motion. However, as lawyers review cases, the number of lawsuits could grow substantially higher.