Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) is a statin drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. Millions of Americans take Lipitor to help manage their cholesterol. The drug works by blocking HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that allows the liver to produce LDL or "bad" cholesterol.
When patients take Lipitor, their "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides are lowered. At the same time, Lipitor can increase patients' HDL or "good" cholesterol. In addition, Lipitor can help lower the risk for heart attack and stroke in certain types of patients. Unfortunately, some patients have reported experiencing health problems while taking Lipitor. As a result, many of these patients have filed Lipitor lawsuits against Pfizer.
Lipitor Side Effects
Statins such as Lipitor have been linked to the following medical conditions:
The Women's Health Initiative's study found that postmenopausal women, who took statins had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Other research involving the review of 13 studies regarding statins concluded that patients who took statins had a nine percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, the FDA found that statins may increase the risk of liver damage.
In February 2012, the FDA mandated that Pfizer and other statin drug companies add warnings to their drug labels about the risk of liver damage and memory loss along with the risk of increased HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels. HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels help determine whether a patient has diabetes. However, Lipitor's new labels reportedly failed to specifically state that an increase in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels are associated with type 2 diabetes.
Lipitor Lawsuit Actions
Some patients have alleged that Lipitor caused the onset of type 2 diabetes. If not properly managed, type 2 diabetes can cause blindness, kidney damage, damage to the feet, nerve damage, fungal infections, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer's disease. The treatment of type 2 diabetes typically includes a lifelong regimen of diabetes medicine and insulin therapy, which can be very costly.
As a result, patients have filed Lipitor lawsuit actions against Pfizer. These lawsuits are usually based on the theory of product liability. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers must ensure that their products are free from any dangerous defects that may harm consumers. Products that are manufactured defectively, designed defectively, or that do not include adequate warnings about the associated risks can expose manufacturers and sellers to liability.
In the Lipitor lawsuit actions, plaintiffs have alleged that Pfizer failed to adequately warn users about the dangers involved with Lipitor. Plaintiffs argue that Lipitor's label warnings lacked information about the risk of type 2 diabetes. They have also claimed that had they known about the risk, they wouldn't have taken Lipitor in the first place.
If the plaintiffs in these lawsuits prevail, they could be awarded damages for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Because type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, an award for medical expenses would likely include past medical expenses along with projected medical costs for future treatment and medication.
Medical Malpractice Claims
In addition, patients may have a claim against their physicians for medical malpractice. Doctors and other medical professionals may be liable for medical malpratice if the treatment they provide falls below the standard of care practiced in the industry. For example, if a doctor prescribed Lipitor to a pregnant woman despite Lipitor's label warnings, the doctor could be held liable for any injuries the patient suffers as a result of the drug.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.