The Lipitor Case That Pfizer Doesn’t Want To be Heard

Illustration of shady character with Pfizer logo on hat

Not only did Sophia* develop diabetes from Lipitor, so did her doctor. This is their story.

Sophia, a woman in her 50s, worked at a local medical clinic, loved shopping with friends and spending time with her family. She volunteered at her church, walked her neighborhood for exercise, and generally led what most of us would call a “normal” life. The beginning of the end of that “normal” life started when she was prescribed Lipitor.

Sophia’s doctor, whom we’ll call Dr. Metcalf, trusted that Lipitor was a safe and effective drug to help women lower their cholesterol levels. The drug’s maker, Pfizer Inc., claimed it lowered a woman’s risk of developing heart disease. In fact, Dr. Metcalf trusted Pfizer’s claims so much that she took Lipitor herself.

Pfizer’s Lipitor Ended “Normal” Life for Sophia

About three years after starting Lipitor, Sophia’s body began to show symptoms of not being able to control blood sugar levels. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Metcalf also would develop type 2 diabetes, which is permanent with no known cure.

Both Sophia and Dr. Metcalf, it turned out, are among a very large class of women who did not have risk factors for diabetes, but who developed the disorder after taking Lipitor. Today, Sophia is among thousands of women suing Pfizer for, among other things, concealing data that linked Lipitor use to the development of diabetes in women.

Sofia is one of my clients, one of hundreds we are representing or whose cases we are investigating. At this time, hundreds of thousands of women who take Lipitor or its generic, Atorvastatin Calcium, are still at risk. If you take Lipitor and/or its generic, make certain your doctor is routinely checking your blood sugar levels, and be sure to ask about alternative cholesterol treatments. Read more about your risk factors for developing diabetes if you take Lipitor.

Holding Pfizer Accountable

What is particularly disturbing is that Sophia’s diabetes, like many of the other thousands of women who developed Lipitor-induced diabetes, was preventable. Had Pfizer warned consumers, like Sophia, and members of the medical community, like Dr. Metcalf, of the risks associated with taking Lipitor, they would have made a different choice. Instead, Pfizer chose to conceal vital prescribing information explaining this risk so that sales would not be affected.

So, Sophia and thousands of women like her are fighting back. They are holding Pfizer accountable through the civil justice system. Sophia’s life will never be what it once was, but by suing Pfizer, she is sending a message that pharmaceutical companies who knowingly put patients at risk also will pay a price.

Sophia’s Life Today

Sophia has already developed many of the side effects associated with diabetes. She sees a podiatrist every three months for removal of cysts and lesions on her feet caused by constant pain and swelling from nerve damage. Sophia sees a kidney specialist regularly for treatment of chronic renal insufficiencies (CRI) and stage 3 kidney failure, and she understands that it is likely she will require dialysis in the future. Also, diabetes has caused her vision to become blurry and she is aware that blindness is a real possibility.

*Name changed to protect client privacy

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