On August 8, 2013, the JPML Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued it’s order denying a request to centralize all federal lawsuits against Pfizer alleging that Lipitor caused the plaintiffs to develop diabetes. This decision was reached because there were only 5 federal lawsuits pendinga at the time the order was issued.
This litigation is sure to be consolidated as an MDL at a later date, considering the fact that Lipitor is one of America’s best selling drugs since coming on the market since the 1990’s, and there remains six months for plaintiffs to file suit who are relying on the 2yr mark from label change for the statute of limitations. The MDL Panel’s decision was not in the interest of judicial economy, as the request will need to be relitigated once additional cases are filed. Additionally, unnecessary docket activity and work will occur in federal actions nationwide, which would not have otherwise occured had the panel consolidated the actions.
Clearly, as the panel acknowledges, these are the type of traditional pharmaceutical injury cases that are consolidated by the panel for pre-trial proceedings. the litigation is destined for consolidation, and the Courts, attorneys and victims would have been best served if the panel consolidated the actions in its August order.