According to court documents listing multidistrict litigation proceedings across the US, as of January 15, 2015, there were 1,604 lawsuits consolidated before Judge Richard M. Gergel under MDL 2502. That represents a dramatic increase from February 2014 when the MDL was first approved. At that time, 56 lawsuits were consolidated before the judge. Furthermore, in November 2014, there were 1,451 lawsuits consolidated in the MDL, meaning that in two months, approximately 150 lawsuits have been added to the proceedings.
Lipitor is a statin, used to lower a patient’s cholesterol levels. But some studies suggest statins are associated with an increased risk of serious side effects, including diabetes and severe muscle problems. Debate rages about whether or not the benefits of statins outweigh the risks. In the meantime, lawsuits are being filed against the makers of various statin drugs, alleging patients were not adequately warned about the potential risks of the drugs.
The Lipitor lawsuits allege that Pfizer, maker of Lipitor, did not adequately warn patients about the potential risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. According to court documents granting the MDL, which had previously been denied, the MDL panel agreed that the plaintiffs’ claims were similar enough to warrant consolidation for pretrial proceedings.
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In approving the motion for multidistrict litigation, the judges noted that from the time the MDL was denied to the time of the new filing, the number of involved lawsuits had increased significantly. Since that time, more than 1,500 lawsuits have been added to the MDL. As plaintiffs prepare for the first trials to make their way into the courts, more lawsuits could still be added to the MDL. The first bellwether trial is expected to be heard in court in October 2015.