February 20, 2014 — In a major reversal from its decision last year, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ordered that all Lipitor lawsuits pending in the federal court system will be centralized in one court in South Carolina.
The transfer order affects 56 Lipitor lawsuits filed by people with type-2 diabetes, as well as 170 tag-along actions pending before 100 different judges in 40 district courts. The JPML said the litigation has “grown considerably” since last year, and it would be “highly difficult, if not impossible, to coordinate this litigation effectively on an informal basis.”
The Lipitor Multi-District Litigation (MDL) was created on February 18 in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina before Judge Richard M. Gergel. All of the lawsuits make the following claims against Pfizer:
“Plaintiffs allege that they have developed type-2 diabetes as a result of taking Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. They contend that Pfizer failed to warn physicians and consumers adequately of the risk of developing type-2 diabetes from taking Lipitor, knew or should have know that the risks of Lipitor included developing diabetes, and negligently, recklessly, and/or carelessly marketed Lipitor without adequate instructions or warnings.”
The dispute arose in February 2012, after the FDA published a Safety Communication to announce that Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering statins might increase a patient’s risk of diabetes. Pfizer added warnings about “increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels,” but many have called these warnings insufficient.