Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol-lowering medication LIPITOR® (atorvastatin) has recently been associated with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes in women. Lawsuits have been filed in courts around the country claiming that Pfizer failed to warn doctors and patients about the potential risks involved with using the drug.
South Carolina – Evalina Smalls thought she was being proactive. After hearing claims that Lipitor could reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease by lowering her “bad” cholesterol, she agreed to begin Lipitor treatment in 1999. At the time, she was very healthy. She had a BMI (body mass index) of 24.8 and maintained a healthy diet. Ten years later, as a result of taking Lipitor, Evalina was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
Now, for the rest of her life, Evalina must undergo regular testing of her blood glucose levels, adhere to a restrictive diabetic diet, and take medication to control her diabetes. Due to her diabetes, she is now at much higher risk to develop blindness, neuropathy (nerve damage), kidney disease, and ironically, the very heart disease she sought to avoid in the first place.
There was no warning. No mention at all in the fine print about the risk of diabetes from taking Lipitor. If she had been fully informed, she might have made a different decision… or at least monitored her blood glucose levels. But she never had that choice.
Finally, in 2012, after a comprehensive review, the FDA began requiring additional warnings about the risks of increased blood sugars and Type 2 Diabetes on labels of Lipitor. The Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products of the FDA based these new warnings on information from a number of studies that had been available to Pfizer for years.
Evalina Smalls, along with a growing number of women, has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Lipitor, seeking compensation for a life permanently altered. In addition to her failure to warn claim, Smalls has included claims of negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment in her lawsuit against Pfizer. She seeks compensatory damages to make her whole for losses due to pain, suffering, and medical expenses, as well as punitive damages.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in January 2012 specifically focused on the diabetes risk for women using Lipitor and other statins. Researchers looked at data on more than 160,000 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) between 1993 and 2005. Among women between the ages of 50 and 79, researchers found that women using Lipitor were 48% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Lipitor went on sale in 1997, the year the Food and Drug Administration first allowed drug ads targeting consumers. Pfizer spent tens of millions on ads, including on the popular drama ER, first urging patients to “Know Your Numbers” and then showing patients discussing how Lipitor helped them get their cholesterol numbers below guideline goals. As a result of this aggressive promotion and withholding information about the risk of diabetes with Lipitor use by women, Pfizer generated more than $125 billion in Lipitor sales.
Contact us for a free consultation if you are a post-menopausal woman and have taken Lipitor. At Elk & Elk, we put our resources to work for you.
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