Lipitor is the best-selling prescribed drug in the world. Since 1996, when it was placed on the market, it produced $130 billion in global sales. In the U.S., more than 29 million patients were prescribed Lipitor. The drug is used to reduce cholesterol levels, but it has some side effects. Now Pfizer, the company producing Lipitor, faces a surging wave of lawsuits because of one particular side-effect.
The FDA analyzed and allowed the drug to be sold on the market, although it recognized the existence of a dangerous side-effect. The anti-cholesterol Lipitor may cause diabetes. Apparently, women are more predisposed than men to develop diabetes after using Lipitor.
The Food and Drug Administration released a warning in 2012 that drugs from the statin class, such as Lipitor, can cause memory loss and “small increased risk” of diabetes, Reuters reports. As a consequence, many customers filed suits against Pfizer. Because the number of claims increased recently, a federal panel decided to consolidate all the lawsuits related to Lipitor from around the country in a federal court based in Charleston, South Carolina. Pfizer denies liability and will fight in the court.
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Lipitor may cause diabetes, Pfizer faces around 1000 cases in federal court
The FDA still believes in the drug’s power to increase the general health condition, as it said in 2012. The benefits gained by having decreased cholesterol levels are heavier than the small risks of developing diabetes, the FDA argued.
Another drug producer, Takeda Pharmaceutical, faces similar problems with its anti-diabetes drug Actos, which might cause bladder cancer. Right now, there are more than 3.500 lawsuits against Takeda. The FDA pushed Takeda to update its Actos label to include this warning.
The Charleston-based federal court will have to decide if Lipitor indeed causes diabetes and how this should be weighed against an improved heart condition. A number of 4.000 women gathered in almost 1000 cases are ready to be examined by the court because Lipitor may cause diabetes.
Pfizer has c couple of options in the Lipitor controversy. The pharmaceutical company will weigh in potential benefits from not going into the court room. Potentially damaging information might come out as the trial progresses, so Pfizer might prefer settlements before the trial begins.