Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, is facing a wave of lawsuits from women who have developed diabetes from taking the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in 2012 that Lipitor and other statins in the same class of drugs were linked to a “small increased risk” of diabetes.
What is significant about these lawsuits is that many more may follow, because before its patent expired, Lipitor was the best selling prescription drug of all time. In 2011, Lipitor raked in $10.8 billion in annual sales for Pfizer. Over its lifetime, Lipitor has brought in $141 billion in sales, according to an article published in the Guardian on March 27, 2014. According to an August 2014 Reuters article, more than 29 million patients in the United States have been prescribed Lipitor. The pool of potential plaintiffs is huge.
Drug manufacturers often see a spike in lawsuits after the FDA orders a change in the label. The FDAissued a label change in 2012, warning patients that Lipitor and other statins were linked to incidents of memory loss and a “small increased risk” of diabetes. The FDA still stood behind Lipitor and other drugs in the class, saying “Clearly, we think that the heart benefit of statins outweighs this small increased risk for diabetes”.
The first trial against Pfizer is scheduled in July 2015 before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel.