A Virginia woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against Pfizer, arguing that she developed diabetes from side effects of Lipitor, a blockbuster cholestoral drug that was prescribed as a preventative treatment to improve her health.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Patricia Colbert on April 8, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According allegations raised in the Lipitor diabetes lawsuit, Colbert began using the medication in 2010, to lower levels of low-density lipopritein (LDL) and as a prevention measure to decrease her risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Although she was a very health woman before starting Lipitor, with a body mass index (BMI) of 29.1, Colbert was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July 2012.
“In keeping with her healthy and proactive lifestyle, Plaintiff agreed to initiate Lipitor treatment in an effort to reduce her risk of developing heart disease,” states the complaint. “She relied on claims made by Pfizer that Lipitor has been clinically shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.”
Colbert indicates that as a result of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from Lipitor, she must now regularly test her blood glucose levels, adhere to a restrictive diabetic diet and take medications to control her diabetes. She also indicates that she is now at an increased risk for complications associated with diabetes, including the heart disease she was trying to prevent, as well as blindness, neuropathy, kidney disease and other health problems.
Emerging Lipitor Lawsuits Filed By Women with Diabetes
Colbert is among a growing number of women throughout the United States who are now pursuing a Lipitor lawsuit against Pfizer, alleging that the drug maker knew or should have known about the risk of diabetes and failed to provide adequate warnings to the medical community.
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a cholesterol-fighting drug that belongs to a class of medications known as statins, which are used to lower cholesterol by reducing blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is a major contributor to coronary artery disease.
The cholesterol medications are one of the best-selling classes of drugs in the United States, with more than $14.5 billion in combined sales in 2008. Some other commonly marketed prescriptions of statins include: Advicor, Altoprev, Crestor Lescol, Lovalo, Mevacor, Pravachol, Simcor, Vytorin and Zocor.
Out of all medications sold in the United States, Lipitor is one of the most commonly used brand-name medications, generating an estimated $125 billion in sales for Pfizer before it became available as a generic in 2011. The medication has been heavily promoted in direct-to-consumer advertisement, encouraging patients to speak to their doctor about whether they need to be placed on Lipitor to maintain their health.
In February 2012, the FDA announced it was requiring new label warnings for Lipitor and all other statins to warn users of the possible risk of diabetes, but some studies connecting statins to diabetes date as far back as 2004.
Colbert claims that if she had been properly informed about the Lipitor diabetes risk she could have avoided the disease by either choosing not to use the medication or by closely monitoring her blood glucose levels to make sure Lipitor was not adversely affecting her metabolism.
The lawsuit accuses Pfizer of failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment. She is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.