July 11, 2013 — Lawsuits allege that Pfizer knew about the link between Lipitor and diabetes, but marketed the drug as safe and effective. Furthermore, lawsuits allege that the label on Lipitor still does not clearly warn about the risk of type-2 diabetes.
The plaintiff was prescribed Lipitor in December 2009. Despite maintaining her healthy and proactive lifestyle, she decided to take Lipitor based on advertising claims made by Pfizer that it could reduce her risk of heart disease. She was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in April 2012. She alleges that if Pfizer had disclosed the risks of Lipitor, she would have avoided the risk of diabetes by not taking Lipitor or monitoring her blood-sugar levels to see if it was affecting her metabolism.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Safety Warning that all statins, including Lipitor, could increase the risk of type-2 diabetes. They also requested that Pfizer make labeling changes for Lipitor based on evidence linking it to higher blood-sugar changes. In February 2012, Pfizer responded by adding the following warning to the label on Lipitor:
“Increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including Lipitor.”
This label update was the first time Pfizer warned that Lipitor could raise blood-sugar levels. However, lawsuits allege that it “continues to fail to warn customers of the serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes when using Lipitor.”
Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) is a member of a drug class known as statins. It is prescribed to lower the amount of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood. It is marketed as a way to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. It has been sold in the United States since 1996 and was been the best-selling drug in the world until its patent expired in November 2011.