According to court documents, Pfizer moved to dismiss the lawsuits because the 20 plaintiffs had not provided required Plaintiff Fact Sheets or had not resolved information issues in those fact sheets. Of those 20 dismissed cases, attorneys had reportedly said they planned to dismiss 13 cases anyhow, but had not filed the paperwork to do so. Judge Richard Gergel noted in the order that Pfizer filed a motion to dismiss on August 12, 2014 and by the deadline of August 29, 2014, none of the plaintiffs had responded to the motion.
The Court had ordered the Plaintiff Fact Sheets for the dismissed lawsuits turned in by June 2, 2014. Despite that order and a “drop-dead date” of June 18, 2014, the deadlines were not met.
“Nearly three months later, these Plaintiffs have either failed to serve a fact sheet at all or have failed to cure material deficiencies of which they have been notified,” the judge wrote.
Despite dismissing the 20 lawsuits, there are still approximately 1,000 lawsuits pending regarding Lipitor side effects. The multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2502) was approved earlier in 2014. At the time it was approved, there were 56 actions. That number grew to approximately 1,000 after the multidistrict litigation was approved, a dramatic jump from the five lawsuits in 2013.
The first Lipitor bellwether trial is scheduled for court in July 2015. Lawsuits filed allege patients who took Lipitor were not adequately warned about an increased risk of developing diabetes while taking the medication.
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Statin side effects can be difficult to study because diabetes - the side effect plaintiffs are concerned about - is also linked to factors that caused patients to take Lipitor in the first place, meaning patients who take a statin may already have had an increased risk of diabetes due to lifestyle factors.