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Thousands of women sue Pfizer over Lipitor

A prescription bottle label of Pfizer's Lipitor, known as Atorvastatin in the pharmaceutical world.
A prescription bottle label of Pfizer's Lipitor, known as Atorvastatin in the pharmaceutical world.
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Thousands of women sue Pfizer over Lipitor. More than 4,000 women in the United States filed lawsuits in federal court claiming Lipitor caused them to develop Type-2 diabetes. In addition, the women allege Pfizer was negligent in providing the public proper warning of the side effects of the drug.

Currently, about 1,000 cases of Lipitor diabetes claims in North America are expected to be consolidated and scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, in a small courtroom in Charleston, South Carolina, next July. More claims against Pfizer are probable.

Thousands of women sue Pfizer over Lipitor

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) linked memory loss and a small increased risk of diabetes from statins, which includes Lipitor, women have come forward claiming Lipitor caused them to develop Type-2 diabetes and Pfizer failed to warn them properly.

Statins are medication that aid in lowering bad cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol (LDL). The medical community overwhelmingly agrees that statins are highly effective and the medication has improved the lives of millions of people. In fact, Lipitor is prescribed to more than 28 million people in the U.S...

Pfizer received approval to release Lipitor to the public in 1996. Since then, Lipitor sales are close to 130 billion dollars; it is the unsurpassed best-selling drug of all time. However, people can experience and develop some dangerous side effects from taking statin medication; side effects like memory loss, muscle problems, neurological problems, increased blood sugar levels, Type-2 diabetes, and damage to the liver. Nonetheless, the FDA has not found enough evidence to show that the risk of taking Lipitor outweigh the benefits. They are still allowing it to be sold and prescribed.

Lipitor side effects in question

On the other hand, H. Blair Hahn of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the appointed attorney for the women affirms that women who take Lipitor to help lower their cholesterol levels are more likely to get diabetes than men are. Moreover, because the women developed diabetes, the quality of their lives are shortened and reduced.

Pfizer, a major pharmaceutical company denies liability and, at present, is preparing to fight the allegation in federal court. Pfizer may settle out of court in order to avoid bad press, which could damage their reputation. However, it is likely they would defend their product and company since they currently have the support of the medical community and FDA.

In addition, it will be hard for the women to prove their case, according to Pfizer. Pfizer argues that the women developed the disease because of their lifestyle and current health condition. Pfizer maintains that the women who take statins, like Lipitor have lifestyles that cause other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and obesity which makes the women more susceptible in developing diabetes.

For the time being, it may be prudent to consider other alternative for lowering cholesterol while Lipitor’s side effects are under review. Healthcare professionals suggest exercise and a healthy diet are natural ways to help lower and maintain cholesterol levels. For your health and safety, consult a doctor for more options to consider.