Among the allegations made about Lipitor is that patients and medical professionals were not adequately warned about the risk of developing type II diabetes prior to the drug’s label being changed in September 2012. Lawyers allege that if doctors and patients had known about those risks, they would have been sure to monitor blood sugar levels to prevent patients from developing type II diabetes, an incurable condition.
Furthermore, type II diabetes is a risk factor for heart problems, but preventing heart problems is one of the reasons patients take Lipitor and other statins in the first place.
Hundreds of lawsuits involving Lipitor have been filed in the US, alleging patients - mostly women - developed type II diabetes after using Lipitor. According to court documents in a transfer order (2/21/14) concerning 56 Lipitor lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that Pfizer did not adequately warn physicians or consumers about the risk of developing type II diabetes, knew or should have known about those risks and marketed Lipitor without proper instructions or warnings.
The panel on multidistrict litigation involved in the transfer order (case 1:13-cv-01332-AWI-SKO) also noted that there are Lipitor diabetes lawsuits pending in at least three state courts. The lawsuits were transferred to the District of South Carolina for consolidated proceedings.
One Lipitor lawsuit, filed by Aubrey Isom against Pfizer, alleges Pfizer knew about the risk of type II diabetes for several years. According to court documents, even with a label change in 2012, the new label was still “extremely vague” and did not directly state that Lipitor use could lead to type II diabetes.
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Meanwhile, almost 300 Lipitor lawsuits were dismissed in February when the judge ruled the lawsuits were filed in the wrong court. The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, however, so they can be filed in other courts. The ruling is not a statement on the merits of the allegations, but on jurisdiction. According to the Madison Record (3/6/14), the lawyer was told to amend the complaint but did not do so, resulting in the lawsuits being dismissed.
The Isom lawsuit is Isom v. Pfizer, Inc., Case number 8:13-cv-10250-CJC-JPR, US District Court, Central District of California.