A Lipitor lawsuit that sought to blow the whistle on deceptive marketing tactics allegedly used by Pfizer to drive sales of the statin drug has been voluntarily dismissed after the federal government declined to intervene in the case. Health Support Awareness, which had filed the whistleblower lawsuit in 2011, motioned for its voluntary dismissal on January 16th, one week after the complaint had been unsealed in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.
According to a report from Law360.com, the Lipitor lawsuit had been filed under the Federal False Claims Act, which allows private citizens or entities to file suit against those believed to be defrauding government programs. Among other things, Health Support Awareness had accused Pfizer of improperly charging the government for millions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
Law360.com reported that the federal government had declined to intervene in the whistleblower case in December, but had requested that the Court seek its consent before dismissing the lawsuit. Last Wednesday, the Justice Department consented to its dismissal.
While Pfizer won’t have to defend itself against the claims in the now-dismissed whistleblower lawsuit, it still faces about 100 product liability lawsuits filed in courts around the country that allege use of Lipitor caused diabetes. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits accuse Pfizer of concealing the association between Lipitor and new-onset Type 2 diabetes. They also claim Pfizer failed to warn patients and doctors about this risk, and contend that warnings added to the Lipitor label in 2012 regarding its affect on blood glucose levels remain inadequate.
On January 30th, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will consider a new motion filed by plaintiffs seeking the establishment of a multidistrict litigation for all federally-filed Lipitor diabetes claims. This is the second time the Panel will consider such a request, as it had declined to consolidate the cases in April after finding there were too few to warrant such a move. However, at that time, only about a dozen Lipitor lawsuits were pending in U.S. courts. Pfizer is opposed to the creation of a Lipitor multidistrict litigation, but plaintiffs contend it will reduce duplicative discovery and inconsistent court rulings, and preserve the resources of the court, parties and witnesses.
Individuals who may have developed Type 2 diabetes due to their use of Lipitor could be entitled to file their own claim against Pfizer. More information regarding the process for filing a Lipitor lawsuit can be obtained by contacting Bernstein Liebhard LLP for a free, no-obligation legal review. To arrange for your consultation, please call .