History of the Lipitor Lawsuit
History of Lipitor
Lipitor is a cholesterol lowering medication, belonging to a class of drugs known as statins. Statins have been used since the 1980’s to lower cholesterol.
Statins work by blocking a specific enzyme in the liver, which stops the body from producing more cholesterol. Statins usually will lower cholesterol levels after a two week course of medication, but are typically taken for longer periods of time, even years.
Lipitor is also called atorvastatin, which is the generic name of the drug. Lipitor was originally developed Warner-Lambert, a pharmaceutical company.
Warner-Lambert entered into a selling agreement with Pfizer, Inc., who would market and sell the drug. Pfizer later acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000.
Lipitor was given FDA approval for public use in late 1996, and first sold in 1997. It quickly became the most popular drug of all time, outselling all other pharmaceutical medicines of any kind. In the first 14.5 years after it’s release, Lipitor grossed over $125 billion in sales.
Lipitor raked in 20 to 25% of Pfizer’s overall sales for years.
Part of the success of Lipitor was because it is a particularly potent statin, and is very efficient in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. It is sometimes nicknamed the “turbostatin.”
In addition, there are claims that Lipitor was aggressively marketed, downplaying the risks and dangerous Lipitor side effects, which may account for some of its success as well. For more on the Lipitor side effects, click here.
Problems are seen with Lipitor Side Effects
There have been many prior studies on statin use and the risk of type II diabetes, but it was until 2004 that a study specifically examining Lipitor and type II diabetes was published.
This study was published in Circulation, and it examined the relationship between Lipitor and blood sugar. It found that people who take long term courses of Lipitor can have worsened ability to control blood sugar levels. The authors of this study stated that Lipitor decreased “glycemic control.”
With uncontrolled blood sugar levels, people taking Lipitor can eventually develop type II diabetes.
Another study published by the Lancet in 2010 confirmed the association between Lipitor and other statins with type II diabetes. These researchers found that taking Lipitor leads to a significantly increased the users chances of developing type II diabetes.
Another study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology published in 2011 confirmed: Lipitor increases the users’ risk of contracting type II diabetes significantly.
These and other medical studies caught the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA makes Changes in Lipitor Safety Labels
Lipitor was approved for sale in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2012 when the FDA ordered changes to be made to the safety label of Lipitor regarding the Lipitor diabetes risk.
On February 28th, 2012 the FDA issued a mandate that the drug companies must add another safety label to Lipitor and atorvastatin, warning that this medicine may significantly increase one’s likelihood of developing type II diabetes.
Unlike in other countries, Pfizer chose not to disclose the diabetes risk on the Lipitor bottles directly. Instead Pfizer placed a warning that the drug can potentially cause increased blood sugar levels.
However, claimants in the Lipitor lawsuit argue that this warning was not strong enough, and unclear. The Lipitor type II diabetes warning Pfizer added in response to the FDA mandate was worded as follows:
“Increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including Lipitor.”
The Lipitor Lawsuit
As Lipitor users across the U.S. began to develop type II diabetes from taking Lipitor, a public outcry began. Lipitor was released 16 years before Pfizer began to warn about Lipitor type II diabetes, a warning that came all too late for thousands of Americans.
If Pfizer had been more forthcoming about the risks of type II diabetes to both patients and the healthcare providers prescribing this medication, preventative action could have been taken.
For example, healthcare providers could have started monitoring their patient’s blood glucose level to see if a problem was developing. Lipitor users themselves could have made life style changes had they known of their increased risk of contracting diabetes.
The first Lipitor lawsuit was filed in the District of South Carolina by Evalina Smalls. Evaline began taking Lipitor in 1999 to prevent heart disease.
Despite her healthy lifestyle and otherwise low risk for diabetes, Evalina developed type II diabetes as a result of taking Lipitor. She alleges that she is now at risk of the complications associated with type II diabetes, including blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, and yes, heart disease.
Evaline Smalls was not the only one affected, and the Lipitor lawsuits slowly started to increase. The Lipitor MDL , or Lipitor multidistrict litigation was created this year, as the number climbed from just a few Lipitor type II diabetes claims, to over 700. The Lipitor MDL will effectively organize the smiliar Lipitor type II diabetes claims and expedite pretrial procedures, including early settlements.
The Lipitor lawsuit is expected to go to trial in July of 2015.
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Hurt by Lipitor?
If you have been affected by Lipitor type II diabetes, you may be eligible for compensation with a Lipitor lawsuit. The medical bills, risks, and pain and suffering associated with Lipitor type II diabetes are not to be underestimated.
If you have been hurt by Lipitor, it is vital that you contact our team for legal representation. Our Lipitor lawyers are experienced, caring, and well-qualified to handle your case.
Call today for a free case evaluation to see if you may have a viable claim for a Lipitor lawsuit.
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