Pfizer Inc. is being sued by patients who developed Type 2 diabetes after using the cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor. With more than 56 different pending federal lawsuits, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has approved a motion to consolidate cases against the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Patients prescribed Lipitor may file claims and become part of the multidistrict litigation or may pursue their own independent actions against Pfizer Inc. An experienced drug recall attorney can help patients experiencing Lipitor complications to understand their rights and chose the best approach to obtaining compensation.
Lipitor MDL Could Help Plaintiffs Recover Compensation for Losses
Lipitor is classified as a statin, and contains the active ingredient atorvastatin. Atorvastatin was synthesized for the first time in 1985 by Parke-Davis Warner-Lambert Company, which Pfizer has since acquired. Lipitor is the brand name version of the medication and was approved for sale in 1996. Sales exceeded $125 billion and Lipitor was consistently one of the best-selling drugs in the world before the patent on the drug expired in 2011 and generic atorvastatin became available.
Patients who took the drug to lower their cholesterol were, unfortunately, not warned of all of the potential side effects and problems with the medication. Pfizer may have known since 1996 that Lipitor increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes but did not make this information clear to the public who were prescribed the drug.
The increased risk of Type 2 diabetes is significant. A January 2012 study of 161,808 postmenopausal women aged 50-79 found that women taking statins had a 50-percent greater chance of developing diabetes than those who were not using this type of medication. The study was nationwide and involved patients from 40 clinical centers throughout the U.S.
It was not until after this type of evidence came to light that the Food and Drug Administration finally warned consumers about a link between statins and diabetes in 2012.
By then, many patients had already developed Type 2 diabetes. Some of these patients decided to sue Pfizer for damages and petitioned to have a multidistrict litigation (MDL) created. At the time when the plaintiffs filed their initial request to consolidate the cases, there were just five pending lawsuits related to Lipitor and around half of the cases were in the same district court. The request to create a MDL was denied, in part because Pfizer had agreed that it would cooperate with the coordination of pre-trial proceedings for pending cases.
However, the number of claims against Pfizer grew and plaintiffs again petitioned to create an MDL. The creation of a MDL moves pending claims before one judge who will hear common issues related to all of the cases. An MDL expedites the process of handling cases based on defective drugs.
This time, with 56 federal lawsuits pending, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation consolidated the cases before Richard M. Gergel. The Judge is already presiding over 27 Lipitor claims and his experience will help him to streamline the pre-trial process for patients waiting for compensation for their illnesses.
A drug recall attorney can help victims harmed by dangerous drugs. Contact DeCarlo Law today at 877-572-0065 to schedule a consultation.