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The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has decided to centralize all Farxiga lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system before one judge in New York for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
There are currently at least 18 complaints pending against Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca in U.S. District Courts nationwide, each involving similar allegations that the drug makers failed to adequately warn about the potential risks of diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure and heart attacks linked to side effects of Farxiga.
In addition, as Farxiga injury lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming months and years, the size of the litigation is expected to continue to increase.
The medication is part of a new class of diabetes treatments, known as sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, which also includes the blockbuster treatments Invokana, Invokamet, Xigduo XR and others. While the drugs have been aggressively marketed since they were introduced over the past few years, a number of serious health concerns have emerged through independent studies and post-marketing adverse event data.
The allegations raised in cases against the makers of Farxiga are nearly identical to those being pursued in over 125 Invokana lawsuits filed by users of this competing SGLT2 inhibitor, which was the first member the class approved in the U.S., and has been the biggest seller.
Although the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established coordinated pretrial proceedings for all Invokana injury cases in December 2016, cases involving use of Farxiga or other SGLT2 inhibitors were excluded from that MDL.
In early February, a group of plaintiffs filed a request to establish a separate Farxiga MDL for cases filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.
Although the manufacturers opposed centralization, following hearing oral arguments late last month, the JPML decided that it was appropriate to establish formal coordination for the Farxiga litigation.
In a transfer order (PDF) issued on April 6, the panel decided to consolidating all Farxiga lawsuits before U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield in the Southern District of New York to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
In complex pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of complaints are brought by individuals who suffered the same or similar injuries from the same medication, it is common for the cases to be coordinated as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). As additional cases are filed in the coming months and years, they will be transferred to Judge Schofield for discovery and potential bellwether trials.
Following any early bellwether trials scheduled to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony, if the parties fail to reach Farxiga settlements to resolve large numbers of claims, each case in the MDL may be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date.