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Pfizer lawsuits over Lipitor could rise into thousands

Individuals in Tennessee who developed type 2 diabetes after taking the prescription drug Lipitor may have heard that a number of lawsuits have been filed against its manufacturer Pfizer. The number is so high that a federal judicial panel has decided to consolidate the lawsuits. They will be heard in Charleston, South Carolina, starting in July 2015.While it is not uncommon for lawsuits against drug manufacturers to spike after they are required to change their label by the FDA following information about new risks, no prescription drug has ever sold as well as Lipitor. Pfizer asserts that it has been forthcoming about the risks, but attorneys say that women face a much higher chance of developing diabetes while on the drug than men do. The case may hinge on whether or not the benefits of statins outweigh the risks. The 1,000 cases filed so far could ultimately represent only around 10 percent of the total cases that will be filed.A few different outcomes may result from the lawsuits. In one scenario, Pfizer may decide to settle before the cases go to trial. This may happen if the company wants to avoid any negative publicity. Another possibility is that Pfizer may wait to see how the initial trials go, and if those cases lean in their favor, they may be able to persuade plaintiffs to drop cases or take smaller settlements. Alternately, Pfizer may end up paying a substantial amount of money to plaintiffs although some experts say that the chance of successfully proving harm is small.Individuals who feel they have been harmed by pharmaceutical and medical products may wish to speak with an attorney about the possibility of filing a lawsuit. In general, they may need to prove that the risks outweigh a product’s benefits.

Source: FOX Business, “Pfizer confronts surge of lawsuits over Lipitor”, August 08, 2014

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