Baycol, also known as Cerivastatin Sodium, was approved for use in 1997. It is a popular cholesterol-lowering drug and is prescribed to control the excess cholesterol in the bloodstream that leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease. Approximately 700,000 Americans were prescribed with the drug. Baycol was intended to lower both total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, while raising the HDL ("good") cholesterol that clears the arteries. Patients taking Baycol, however, have experienced severe rhabdomyolysis resulting in kidney failure and death. On August 8, 2001, Bayer, the manufacturer of Baycol, voluntarily withdrew the drug from the market due to reports of fatal rhabdomyolysis.
The FDA has received 31 reports of deaths due to severe Rhabdomyolysis associated with Baycol. Bayer, however, is attributing 52 deaths to Baycol. To date, many lawsuits have already been filed and several are seeking class action status.