Lipitor Lawsuit Filed By Mississippi Woman Diagnosed with Diabetes

A Mississippi woman has joined the mounting Lipitor litigation, filing a lawsuit this month that alleges she developed type 2 diabetes due to side effects of Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol drug.  

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Sandra Sanderson Havens in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District on July 1, indicating that she was at a healthy weight and lived an active lifestyle before she began taking Lipitor in December 2009 to help reduce her risk of heart disease. Following several years of use, she indicates that she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in April 2012, and now faces multiple medical complications associated with the disease.

Havens’ case is one of a growing number of Lipitor diabetes lawsuits filed against Pfizer in courts throughout the United States, which allege that the drug maker has known about the risk of diabetes for women using Lipitor, but failed to provide adequate warnings for users or the medical community.

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Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a member of a class of drugs known as statins, which also includes the blockbuster medications Crestor, Zocor and others. Statins collectively generate more than $14.5 billion annually, and Lipitor is the best selling drug of the class.

In February 2012, the FDA announced it was requiring new diabetes warnings for Lipitor and other similar statins, informing users for the first time that they may face an increased risk of changes to blood glucose levels. However, Havens alleges that Pfizer was aware fo the diabetes risk long before these warnings were issued, with some studies connecting statins to diabetes date as far back as 2004.

The complaint maintains that the Lipitor warning label still fails to adequately disclose the risk of diabetes, pursuing claims for failure to warn, negligence, breach of implied warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment. She is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

Lipitor MDL To Be Considered

Later this month, a panel of federal judges is scheduled to hear oral arguments on whether all Lipitor lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide should be centralized before one judge for pretrial proceedings as part of a Lipitor MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

Such consolidation is common in complex pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of lawsuits are filed in the federal court system raising similar injury allegations associated with the same medication.

The request for Lipitor consolidation was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) in April, by attorneys for a group of women who have filed lawsuits. In a response filed in May, Pfizer opposed the creation of an MDL for the Lipitor cases, arguing that the litigation is not sufficiently large enough to require the consolidated proceedings.

Over the coming months, the number of complaints filed nationwide is expected to rise dramatically, as Lipitor lawyers are continuing to investigate and review cases for women diagnosed with diabetes. Given the widespead use Lipitor, which has generated more than $125 billion in sales since 1996, estimates have suggested that thousands of cases may ultimately filed.


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