February 5, 2015 — A lawsuit filed by a woman from Colorado who used Lipitor for 15 years before she was diagnosed with diabetes has been selected for the first federal trial in October.
The first “bellwether” trial will involve a lawsuit (PDF) filed by Wilma Daniels, a woman from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
She was prescribed Lipitor in about 1998 and used it to lower her cholesterol levels. Despite having a healthy weight, she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2004.
As a result of her diagnosis, she must undergo regular testing of her blood-sugar levels, adhere to a restrictive diet, and take medication. She also has an increased risk of heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney disease.
The lawsuit was filed on February 25, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Soon afterward, it was transferred to a federal court in South Carolina, where over 1,600 similar lawsuits are overseen by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel.
Earlier this week, Judge Gergel rejected Pfizer’s attempt to toss 10 lawsuits after finding that failure-to-warn claims made by the plaintiffs were not preempted by federal law.
The FDA has warned that cholesterol-lowering statins, including Lipitor, can increase blood-sugar levels and may slightly increase the risk of diabetes. For people with pre-existing risk-factors for diabetes, the risk may be higher.
The FDA believes the heart benefit of statins outweighs the risk of diabetes. However, they now tell doctors that some patients may need to have blood-sugar levels assessed after they start taking Lipitor.
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