June 27, 2016 — Pfizer is facing approximately 3,000 federal lawsuits claiming the blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor causes type-2 diabetes.

The cases are centralized under U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in federal court in South Carolina, MDL No. 2502.

On June 24, Pfizer filed a motion (PDF) asking Judge Gergel to dismiss that MDL because the plaintiffs do not have admissible expert testimony proving Lipitor causes diabetes.

Meanwhile, whistleblower lawsuit accusing Pfizer of over-promoting Lipitor for unapproved uses has been rejected by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A unanimous three-judge panel ruled that prescribing Lipitor outside recommended guidelines is not “off-label” even though the guidelines are on the label.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by Jesse Polansky, who said Pfizer’s aggressive and misleading marketing resulted in Medicare and Medicaid overcharges. However, the court ruled that prescribing guidelines on the label were not legal restrictions:

“We cannot accept plaintiff’s theory that what scientists at the National Cholesterol Education Program clearly intended to be advisory guidance is transformed into a legal restriction simply because the FDA has determined to pass along that advice through the label.”


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