The number one money maker in the pharmaceutical industry in 2011 has now been accused of causing diabetes in women. More than 4,000 women have claimed that taking Lipitor, the top-selling prescription medication used to lower cholesterol, has caused them to develop type 2 diabetes.They are also alleging that the drug manufacturer, Pfizer, was aware that the medication could potentially cause the condition, but failed to properly warn patients of the drug’s potential side effects. The attorney appointed to represent the women involved in the class action lawsuit explained how the alleged pharmaceutical errors and misinformation by Pfizer has resulted in a shortened lifespan and a decreased quality of life for thousands of women in Nevada and around the country.
The Lipitor lawsuit
Physicians have been prescribing Lipitor since 1996, and since that time, drug sales have exceeded $130 billion. The Lipitor lawsuit has the potential to become widespread, as millions of women who have taken the medication throughout the years are potential plaintiffs, according to Reuters.
Women began to file claims against the company in 2012, when the FDA ordered Pfizer, as well as the manufacturers of other statin drugs, to revise their drug labels. The labels needed to warn patients that the drug category had been linked to diabetes and memory loss, in addition to potential liver damage, muscle problems, neurological issues and increased blood sugar. Inquisitr.com reported that the women involved in the class action lawsuit against Pfizer must provide sufficient evidence showing that the drug manufacturer was negligent in providing information regarding the drug’s side effects.
A spokesperson from Pfizer argues that all of the potential adverse events and side effects are given in Lipitor’s advertisements, product labeling and on the Internet. Currently, Pfizer has refused to accept product liability and will not settle this lawsuit out of court. The manufacturer also states that many women who take Lipitor share common lifestyle traits, including high blood pressure and obesity that may make them more likely to develop the condition.
Side effects versus benefits
Just like every other drug on the U.S. market, Lipitor has side effects, or undesirable issues that come with taking a medication. The Federal Drug Administration requires manufacturers to include this information, along with the drug’s contraindications, precautions, black box warnings and adverse reactions, with the original packaging. Patients receiving prescriptions should also receive this information along with their prescription.
Before taking any type of medication, patients and physicians must determine whether the drug’s benefits outweigh the possible risks. For example, Inquisitor states that Lipitor has been shown to minimize the risk of heart disease by lowering the patient’s cholesterol. Yet people who have active liver disease, kidney disease, are pregnant or drink alcohol on a regular basis should avoid taking the medication.
In many cases, the long-term effects of the drug are unknown, and are only discovered after it has been on the market for a period of time. This may be true in the Lipitor case, as people have now been taking the drug for almost nine years.
Many Americans trust the pharmaceutical industry to produce medication that will help improve their quality of life. When an error occurs, however, patients in Nevada may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional trauma they’ve experienced as a result of the mistake.