At the root of many Lipitor lawsuits, plaintiffs claim that the drug contributed to their development of type 2 diabetes. The plaintiffs filing lawsuits against Pfizer also claim that patients and doctors were inadequately warned by the company about the serious potential side effects of the drug.
Why Are People Filing Lipitor Lawsuits?
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a statin used to lower both high cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. By lowering high cholesterol in patients, statins have been shown to help reduce a patient's risk of a heart attack and heart disease. Since its approval in 1996, Lipitor has been prescribed to 29 million patients across the United States and made $130 billion in global sales for Pfizer, making it one of the best selling drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Despite their widespread popularity and life-saving attributes, Lipitor and other statins have been scrutinized for a few of their more serious side effects. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the warning labels for several different statins including Lipitor. The new labels listed potential "non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects" like memory loss or confusion as well as reports of increased blood sugar levels in patients using statins. While the cognitive side effects introduced in the warning can be reduced by stopping the medication, increased blood sugar levels can potentially lead to type 2 diabetes in patients.
Atorvastatin lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer for failing to adequately warn patients about the increased risk of diabetes associated with the drug.
Lipitor and Type 2 Diabetes
In 2012, after studying data from clinical trials and medical literature, the FDA approved a label change for Lipitor and other statins warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of increased blood sugar levels attributed to statins. One particular meta-analysis looked at 13 different trials that showed a combined 9% increase in the risk of developing diabetes during statin therapy. Despite the increase, both the study authors and the FDA concluded that the risk was low compared to the cardiovascular benefits gained from statin therapy.
Several other studies have since been published looking at the relationship between statins and diabetes. While the studies have varied in their estimation of the risk, some newer studies have also found that in addition to an increased risk of diabetes when taking statins, there is also a correlation between the size of the dose and the level of risk.
Lipitor Lawsuit History
Following the FDA's warning concerning statins side effects in 2012, Lipitor lawsuits quickly grew in numbers. A multidistrict litigation was soon formed to consolidate the large number of Lipitor claims filed. No Lipitor class action lawsuit has been filed.
Federal Lipitor Lawsuits (MDL 2502)
On February 19, 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created MDL 2502 in the District of South Carolina to cover Lipitor litigation filed against Pfizer. The Lipitor MDL would eventually manage several thousands of cases filed mostly by women who claimed that the use of the prescription drug Lipitor contributed to their development of type 2 diabetes.
The first two bellwether trials ended in a summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Three of the plaintiff's expert opinions had been excluded during the trials, and neither plaintiff was able to adequately demonstrate causation between lower doses of Lipitor and diabetes. The plaintiffs were also unable to prove that their diabetes diagnoses were caused by their use of Lipitor.
Following the two bellwether cases, the presiding Judge Richard M. Gergel asked for any plaintiffs who had enough evidence to prove their claims and survive summary judgment. No plaintiffs came forward, and as of February 3, 2017, all remaining cases in the MDL were granted summary judgment in Pfizer's favor.
The plaintiffs appealed this overarching decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit later affirmed the district court's decision.
State Lipitor Lawsuits
While many cases within MDL 2502 were dismissed, a number of plaintiffs whose cases were consolidated in the MDL asked to have their cases return to state courts. In 2016, more than 70 cases were sent back to their transferor courts for further proceedings, and more cases have been remanded since then. Pfizer tried to remove cases to federal court a second time, however, not enough plaintiffs were willing to participate in a joint case, and the attempt failed. The drugmaker tried to appeal this second decision in 2018 but lost the appeal as well.
No state court verdicts or Lipitor lawsuit settlements have been announced yet.
Earlier Lipitor Lawsuits
Prior to the FDA's warning and the creation of the MDL, two men sued Pfizer over adverse side effects of Lipitor back in 2006. Both cases refer to muscle and nerve damage. Eventually, one of the cases was dismissed and no verdict or settlement was announced for the second case.
Lipitor Lawsuit FAQs
Am I Eligible to File a Lipitor Lawsuit?
If you developed type 2 diabetes while taking Lipitor, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit. Our lawyers are not presently accepting any new Lipitor cases.
What Compensation Is Available for Lipitor Lawsuits?
Compensation generally depends on each individual case. When determining the damages to award, a judge or jury will often look at the economic costs that the plaintiff had to pay such as additional medical expenses or lost wages. They will also take into consideration the noneconomic costs commonly referred to as pain and suffering. Moreover, a judge or jury may decide to award punitive damages as well to financially admonish the defendant, in this case, Pfizer, for their negligent actions.
How Much Does Lipitor Lawyer Cost?
You can file a Lipitor lawsuit on a contingency basis. This contingency agreement allows you to pay nothing up front. Rather, you will only be required to pay legal fees if you receive compensation for your claim.