The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the litigation under Judge Richard M. Gergel in MDL No. 2502 in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina.
Over 500 lawsuits have been transferred into the litigation since May 2015. All of the plaintiffs accuse Pfizer of downplaying the increased risk of type-2 diabetes from Lipitor (atorvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering drug and one of the most widely-prescribed drugs in the world.
The first case has already been selected for a “bellwether” trial. The lawsuit was filed by Wilma Daniels (Case No. 2:14-cv-01400) last year in Colorado. She was prescribed Lipitor in 1998 and used it until she was diagnosed with diabetes in 2004.
According to the complaint:
“For the rest of her life she must undergo regular testing of her blood glucose levels, adhere to a restrictive diabetic diet, and take medication to control her diabetes. Due to her diabetes, she is now at markedly increased risk of heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney disease.”
In 2012, the FDA issued Safety Warnings about the risk of diabetes from all statins, including Lipitor, citing data from the JUPITER clinical trial that found a 27% increased risk.
Since then, other studies have found even higher rates of diabetes among post-menopausal women on statins. In one study, approximately 10% of post-menopausal women on statins developed diabetes, compared to 6.4% of women who did not use statins.
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