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As Lipitor MDL Is Approved, Will Cases of Atorvastatin Type 2 Diabetes Spike?

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Washington, DCWhile a previous request this past September to consolidate Lipitor lawsuits in front of a single judge was not granted, a subsequent request has been granted. A release from PRWEB (2/19/14) noted that oral arguments supporting the proposed Lipitor MDL were heard at the end of January. This week, the Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits MDL was granted.

To that end, a formal Order issued February 18 of this year by the US Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation will see 56 Lipitor product liability claims consolidated to the US District Court, District of South Carolina. That’s the initial complement. However, the Order also noted that a further 170 cases could also be transferred to the MDL (In re Lipitor (atorvastatin) Litigation, MDL No. 2502).

Lipitor manufacturer Pfizer had fought against the proposed consolidation.

Atorvastatin is used to lower and help manage the so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol thought to foster the buildup of arterial plaque, triggering heart disease or stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. According to The Boston Globe (12/15/13), Lipitor has over the years achieved somewhat of a stranglehold on the cholesterol-lowering market. In 1998, 13 million patients were prescribed Lipitor worldwide. By 2004 - a span of just six years - that number had jumped to 40 million, and according to The Boston Globe, Lipitor was the best-selling drug on the entire planet in 2011.

The Boston Globe notes that one of the reasons why Lipitor sales jumped was due to the lowering of cholesterol levels that qualified for treatment by the National Institutes of Health (pundits note that the impetus for the change could be suspect given that eight of the nine panel members were said to have had significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry).

It should also be noted that sales of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor are likely poised to rise again due to recent changes in treatment protocols that suggest cholesterol-lowering drugs should be used as preventative therapy regardless of whether or not a patient is at risk for heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular issues.

Will a further rise in the use of Lipitor foster even more cases of atorvastatin type 2 diabetes?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined in 2012 that there was sufficient risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the result of Lipitor use that it mandated a label change on the product. Plaintiffs involved with Lipitor Diabetes lawsuits note that prior to the label update, there was no suggestion that Lipitor could trigger atorvastatin type 2 diabetes. Suddenly, otherwise healthy individuals observing good dietary and exercise habits were, without warning, exhibiting signs of diabetes - unaware that their cholesterol medication was the culprit.

Plaintiffs further allege that the label update, which came into effect two years ago in February 2012, references the potential relationship between Lipitor and changes to blood sugar levels, but fails to adequately warn of the potential for type 2 diabetes.

Many health advocates take the position that the need for cholesterol-fighting drugs is overstated for the general population that might otherwise be in a position to control their cholesterol through diet, exercise and weight control. Recent changes to treatment protocols recommending statins such as Lipitor for most Americans at middle age as preventative therapy regardless of cardiovascular risk factors will further infuriate pundits who feel such changes will further line the pockets of already wealthy pharmaceutical companies, in the absence of need.

Will cases of atorvastatin type 2 diabetes spike, in step with increased sales of Lipitor with the new treatment protocols, and thus an increased load on the courts? Time will tell…


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