A Brown University professor of medicine takes issue with new cholesterol drug guidelines that may increase the use of statins—and possibly the number of Lipitor lawsuit filings— in an editorial recently published in The Providence Journal.
According to a February 25th report, Barbara Roberts says there are “serious problems” with new regulations released in November 2013 by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The majority of clinical trials on which they are based were largely paid for by drug companies, and led by physicians and scientists with ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
According to the Brown professor, who also serves as director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital on Rhode Island, says this is clear conflict of interest raises a number of ethical questions surrounding physician-industry relationships. Among other things, she points to a 2003 study led by the Journal of the American Medical Association that found trials sponsored by drug companies were four-times more likely to result in a “positive” outcome than those not funded by the industry.
Some statin trials used to support the AHA’s new guidelines also excluded patients who couldn’t tolerate statins like Lipitor, and individuals of certain ages and who may be suffering from certain conditions.
“In the real world, outside of clinical trials, somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent of people put on statins stop taking them within two years,” added the Brown University professor.
What Roberts fails to note is that the number of Lipitor diabetes lawsuit filings in the U.S. is also on the rise, which may lend further evidence to the suggestion that statins may be dangerous. According to more than 100 cases filed in the U.S., the drug may cause new-onset Type 2 diabetes and other injuries. Many of these claims, which blame Pfizer, Inc. for failing to warn patients about its product’s alleged side effects, have since been consolidated in a federal proceeding underway in the U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina. A February 18th Transfer Order from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) indicates that 58 claims have been transferred to the litigation, and 170 similar cases may soon follow.
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