Lawsuits raise questions over the safety of popular Lipitor

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Lipitor is one of the best selling drugs worldwide. But did the drug maker Pfizer fail to warn the public and medical communities about the risk including diabetes?

Many fill their prescription with the FDA-approved pharmaceutical with the hope of supporting a healthier lifestyle. And although a warning was issued by the FDA in 2012, now the multi district litigations against Pfizer are growing rapidly -- including here on the Suncoast.

You may have seen the commercials warning of side effects and elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes associated with the drug Lipitor. “There's easily over five hundred cases that have been filed. The court will pare them down, and there will be two cases that will be tried,” says attorney David Shapiro of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni and Walsh.

He says people affected by the drug on the Suncoast are coming forward. “We've already heard from people, we've been talking to people, we've been gathering the paperwork which includes the medical records, all the information we can. And we're helping process the claims through our contacts and the people we are working with in South Carolina.”

Lipitor is a statin used to manage cholesterol, help people with arterial disease manage the arteries that have popped open because of a stroke, or a heart attack, says cardiologist Dr. Jessica Babare. “We prescribe it before their events, during their events, and after to lower their risk for future events, and also lower their cholesterol numbers in total.”

She says there are way more studies showing that people taking Lipitor who are diabetic have much lower rates of heart attack or stroke than of complications arising from taking the drug. “We have thousands and thousands of patients on drugs like Lipitor, we see the vast majority of them tolerating the drugs very well and having successful management of their diseases with it.”

But she acknowledges there are problems. “However, we do, from time to time, take people off the drug because of side effects ranging from very mild to sometimes serious.”

Other medical conditions linked to Lipitor include muscle damage and memory loss.

When complications do occur as a result of taking Lipitor, Shapiro says his firm is helping people navigate the complexities of the multi district litigation. “We work with lawyers who are in South Carolina to make sure the paperwork is straight and to make sure that the people who are affected here on the Suncoast will be protected by any verdict or settlement that occurs in the future.”

If you have been taking Lipitor and developed diabetes or suffer side effects, first talk to your physician, then seek assistance from local attorneys handling these files or are familiar with the lawsuit.