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Plaintiffs Make Another Attempt to Consolidate Lipitor® Cases in a Federal MDL

On August 8, 2013, plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate all federally filed Lipitor® cases into a central Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) was denied by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The basis for the JPML’s denial of centralization was that too few Lipitor lawsuits were on file in federal court. However, another motion to consolidate all federally filed Lipitor cases into a central Multidistrict Litigation has now been filed by plaintiffs as a result of the growing number of Lipitor® cases in federal court. There are currently 62 Lipitor® cases on file in federal court – and this number is expected to increase in the future. The JPML has not yet ruled on plaintiffs’ most recent motion to consolidate Lipitor cases.

Lipitor® was introduced onto the United States market in 1996. Lipitor® is a popular anti-cholesterol drug (in the class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins) manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. However, numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they have developed type-2 diabetes as a result of taking Lipitor®. In particular, plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer of Lipitor® was aware of the increased risk of patients developing type-2 diabetes while taking Lipitor®, but failed to adequately warn prescribing physicians and patients of the increased risk.

In January 2012, a study entitled “Statin Use and Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative” was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study concluded that individuals taking Lipitor® and other statin drugs, and particularly postmenopausal women, were more likely to develop type-2 diabetes compared to those not taking a statin drug.

On February 28, 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), issued a Drug Safety Communication regarding statin drugs, such as Lipitor®, and required the manufacturers to change their labels to reflect the increased risk of patients developing type-2 diabetes. The FDA explained that “these changes were made to provide the public with more information for the safe and effective use of statins and are based on FDA’s comprehensive review of the statin class of drugs.”

 

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