A federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed an anti-trust Lipitor lawsuit that accuses its manufacturer of paying a generic drug company to hold off on entering the cholesterol drug market, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to an article on September 12th, the lawsuit was dropped in a Trenton court that day after being filed by a group of retailers and distribution companies that bought Lipitor from Pfizer Inc. directly. The judge ruled that not enough evidence had been presented in the case to prove that patent lawsuits filed against Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ltd., were unlawful, and that settlements reached between the companies were made to deliberately discourage a generic Lipitor. In 2008, Pfizer agreed to drop certain damage claims against the Indian company in exchange for its agreement to abstain from bringing generic Lipitor to market before November 2011.
Plaintiffs allege that this settlement prevented the availability of a generic Lipitor, which violates certain anti-trust laws. A spokesperson for Pfizer says the company stands by its legal decisions involving Ranbaxy, however, and will continue to “vigorously protect and defend its intellectual property.” According to a statement released to Chicago Tribune, “Pfizer has always believed that the procurement and enforcement of its Lipitor patents and the settlement of litigation relating thereto was at all times proper and lawful.”
Despite the dismissal of this case, court records show a rising number of Lipitor diabetes claims now filed over the statin. A federal multidistrict litigation involving claims against Pfizer is now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, where claimants allege that the drug’s labeling is insufficient in warning patients about its risk for new-onset Type 2 diabetes. In February 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that all statin labels be adjusted to note this association, after a study published a month earlier in JAMA: Internal Medicine found an increased risk of diabetes in women taking Lipitor and other statins.
A federal Case List updated on September 15th shows 1,279 Lipitor diabetes lawsuits now filed in South Carolina, on behalf of individuals who were allegedly injured by the medication.
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