Millions of Americans have turned to Lipitor and other anti-cholesterol medications known as statins to ward off heart problems but for some patients the use of the drugs has had an unwanted side effect: Type 2 diabetes.
Lipitor’s manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., recently notified the Food and Drug Administration that it was changing the warning labels that come with the medication to reflect the fact that patients who use Lipitor and other statins are putting themselves at higher risk of developing diabetes.
But for some patients that warning has come too late. Lipitor lawsuits have been filed across the country in state and federal courts by patients — predominately women — who are claiming that Pfizer is liable for damages because it was negligent in not warning them earlier of this link to diabetes.
Many of these litigants are part of a petition in the federal court system to create what could become a class-action litigation consolidating federal lawsuits before a U.S. District Court judge.
Their lawsuits share common allegations that the use of Lipitor and other statins caused them to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Many of these Lipitor lawsuits were filed after 2012, when the FDA updated a consumer health advisory that agency officials had issued warning about links between statins such as Lipitor and the increased risks of developing diabetes. The FDA warned all users of statin drugs that their use of the medications could increase blood sugar levels and the risk of developing diabetes.
For instance, lawsuits recently filed by two Pennsylvania women against Pfizer claim that they and other patients who used the medication were not warned use of the drug could lead to type 2 diabetes in females.
Their lawyers are alleging that Pfizer promoted and marketed Lipitor as a safe means of lowering the levels of bad cholesterol to ward off heart attacks and strokes but did not warn of dangerous side effects.
One woman said she had been using Lipitor since 2004 to lower her cholesterol and was diagnosed last May with diabetes and the other women said she uses Lipitor for four years before being diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
Both women said they would not have taken Lipitor if they had known about the increased risk of developing diabetes, according to court documents.
The women are seeking jury trials in which they will seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as compensation for their medical expenses and pain and suffering.