A number of studies have linked statins including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), as well as Zocor (simvastatin, produced by Merck) to an increased risk of diabetes. In fact, an FDA warning was required to be included on the Lipitor label following a safety announcement on February 28, 2012, that warned of the diabetes risk as well as other side effects.
A study published in BMJ on May 23, 2013, confirmed the FDA warning and earlier research when it concluded that statins, such as Lipitor, had a higher incident of diabetes risk than pravastatin. The study analyzed patients in Ontario, Canada were treated with Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor. The team of researchers examined the healthcare records of more than 1.5 million patients aged 66 or older without diabetes who started statin treatment between August 1997 and March 2010. Overall, a 10-22% increased risk of diabetes was found.
The BMJ study follows a Women’s Health Initiative study published on January 23, 2012, which found a nearly 50% increase in new-onset diabetes for postmenopausal women with statins compared with a placebo.
In addition to the risk of diabetes, a BMJ research paper published on March 19, 2013, noted that users of “high potency statins” (including Lipitor) were 34% more likely to be hospitalized with acute kidney injury within 120 days after starting treatment, again confirming the need for the FDA warning.
Lipitor Diabetes Litigation
On March 25, 2013, a South Carolina woman spoke to a Lipitor diabetes lawyer and filed a complaint against Pfizer claiming that Pfizer promoted and marketed Lipitor as safe and effective. (U.S. District Court of South Carolina Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-796-CWH). Evalina Smalls, the plaintiff, alleges that prior to taking Lipitor she lived a healthy and proactive lifestyle, but despite her healthy weight and diet, Ms. Smalls developed type-2 diabetes after initiating her Lipitor treatment. Ms. Small filed a Lipitor diabetes lawsuit as a result.
The Lipitor lawyers seek to hold Pfizer accountable in the Lipitor Diabetes lawsuit for the failure to warn of this risk.
Ms. Smalls alleges the following in her Lipitor diabetes lawsuit:
- August 2011 – The Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products of the FDA requested that Pfizer make labeling changes for Lipitor based upon the FDA’s comprehensive review, including clinical trial data.
- February 2012 – Pfizer complied and added language to the label.
- Prior to February 2012, no warning was given to consumers.
- Despite the February 2012 label change, Pfizer failed to warn consumers of the serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
- Pfizer knew or should have known that the risks to consumers included the severe and life-threatening complications of type-2 diabetes.
- Pfizer failed to warn of the increased risk of diabetes to Ms. Smalls and, furthermore, negligently promoted, marketed and distributed Lipitor, which caused Ms. Smalls to develop type-2 diabetes.
Did you or a loved one use Lipitor to lower your “LDL” and then develop diabetes? If so, you may want to discuss your options with an experienced and qualified lawyer.
Consolidation of Lipitor Cases Does Not Mean a Lipitor Class Action Lawsuit Has Been Created
In April of 2013, Ms. Smalls and other plaintiffs from South Carolina filed a request to consolidate the Lipitor diabetes lawsuit before one judge in South Carolina. Consolidation of Lipitor diabetes cases would prevent duplicate discovery and inconsistent resolutions.
Although injured parties in the Lipitor diabetes lawsuit may end up included in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in front of one court, this does not make the Lipitor diabetes lawsuit a class action. Injured victims across the country have the opportunity to their own day in court and to have their own Lipitor injury analyzed after preliminary pretrial proceedings are complete.
In May of 2013, Pfizer opposed the motion to transfer the cases out of the plaintiff’s home jurisdictions, stating Pfizer would prefer to fight each case individually. Pfizer argued that consolidation of the Lipitor diabetes lawsuit would encourage more people to file lawsuits resulting in the exposure of trade secrets behind Lipitor, one of the most prescribed medicines in history.
The Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) panel met in June and established MDL No. 2459, the national Lipitor diabetes lawsuit, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.