Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuit Filed Against Pfizer

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

A South Carolina woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against Pfizer, indicating that side effects of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor caused her to develop diabetes

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Evalina Smalls in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on March 25, alleging that Pfizer failed to adequately warn users or the medical community about the Lipitor diabetes risk.

According to allegations raised in the Lipitor lawsuit, Smalls was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June 2009, after using the medication for about ten years.

Smalls indicates that prior to taking Lipitor she was very health and had a body mass index (BMI) in the range of a person with normal weight. However, she must now undergo regular testing of her blood glucose levels, adhere to a restrictive diabetic diet and take medication to control her diabetes. As a result of the disease, she is now also at an increased risk of suffering heart disease, blindness, neuropathy and kidney disease, according to the lawsuit.

“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.”

FDA Required Diabetes Label Warning Remains Insufficient

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.

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.

Prior to this label change, Pfizer never warned patients about the potential link between Lipitor and changes in blood sugar levels. However, Smalls alleges that despite the language added in 2012, the label continues to fail to adequately warn users about the serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Had [Pfizer] properly disclosed the risks associated with Lipitor, Plaintiff would have avoided the risk of diabetes by either not using Lipitor at all or by closely monitoring her blood glucose levels to see if the drug was adversely affecting her metabolism,” according to the complaint.

Smalls’ lawsuit accuses Pfizer of failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment. She is seeking compensatory damages for pain, suffering, medical expenses and other economic losses. She is also seeking punitive damages against Pfizer.

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  1. Carolyn Reply

    I am totally disturbed that I now have diabetes and coronary artery disease after being on Lipitor. I also had extreme nightmares while on this med that would accelerate heart palpitations and I felt I would die in my sleep.

  2. Natalia Reply

    I’m just stunned. This article could be my story. I have been diagnosed recently with type 2 diabetes. I did NOT have diabetes in my family, I wasn’t O beast. In 2009 my doctor prescribed this garbage for me, I started to taking it and I become violently ill. All those symptoms and more. The nutritionist told me I would have diabetes doesn’t matter how I eat, etc. I would develop this diabetes. I didn’t even believe in the first time I have it. I was telling my doctor about those symptoms, but she insisted to go ahead and take an other kind too !!!! Oh, my eye site is deteriorating rapidly, so now I have to go see the optometry office….due to diabetes…. I have been lied to. That’s how we become lab rats. Where is the oat, to heal people ???? The Hyppocratic oat :((((.

  3. Kathy Reply

    I am actually really worried about having taken Lipitor and at the present taking Zocor. The only reason for the switch was the cost. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance after I started taking Lipitor but never considered a connection. The doctor I was seeing at that time told me to take it at bedtime for it to work best. I have more issues as time has went on that concern me now. I have been having to have my lipoprotein checked a lot, I have palpitations, tiredness, myalgia, belly and muscle pain. I am afraid not to take my medicine and afraid to take it now as well. Thanks.

  4. Dorothy Reply

    I just started taking the genetic Lipitor by greenstone/Pfizer been feeling funny and after reading this, I like to know why do the fda allow them to give this drug to people with out really explaining to them, so I have been taking it since Thursday 8/7/14 but I am stopping this harmful drug and they will have to come up with something safer. This made me lighted headed and funny feeling.

  5. Ginger Reply

    Does anyone know how to join the lawsuit? I started taking Lipitor at around 27 to 30. At 50, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. No history of diabetes in family. Now at 60, I am on at least 15 meds. It is insane. Thanks

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