Lawsuits are mounting against Pfizer Inc., alleging the company withheld information that its cholesterol-lowering statin drug Lipitor could cause women to develop type 2 diabetes. In the past five months, Lipitor side effects lawsuits have jumped from 56 to more than 1,000.
With the number of lawsuits growing so quickly, the federal judicial panel consolidated all Lipitor lawsuits in Charleston, S.C. Pfizer fought the decision, claiming that it might cause more people to file lawsuits against the company.
Lipitor is the best-selling prescription drug in the world, generating more than $130 billion in sales since it hit the market in 1996. More than 29 million people have been prescribed the drug to help lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular problems.
In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that statins could cause memory loss and an increase in blood sugar levels leading to type 2 diabetes. This risk was greater among women, especially older women who were not considered overweight. (Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.) The FDA ordered manufacturers of statins to change the safety labels of the drugs to reflect this warning.
While statins can drive down cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart attacks, strokes and death, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that puts people at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputations from neuropathy, and dementia. Diabetics must follow a strict diet and often require medication to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that Pfizer’s heavy marketing campaign promoting the benefits of the drug could likely have led to its blockbuster sales – and profits. Now, plaintiffs say, it’s time for the company to compensate patients who were injured by the drugs.
Source: Bidness Etc