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Motion Filed to Centralize Invokana Lawsuits in MDL

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With a growing number of Invokana lawsuits being pursued throughout the federal court system, each involving similar claims that users of the new generation diabetes drugs experienced diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure, heart attacks and other injuries, a request has been filed to centralize the litigation for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

A motion (PDF) was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on September 20, seeking to transfer cases pending in U.S. District Courts nationwide before one judge to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

There are currently at least 56 product liability lawsuits pending in 11 different districts, each involving allegations that Johnson & Johnson, it’s Janssen subsidiary, and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the potential side effects of Invokana (canagliflozin), which was just introduced in March 2013.

Each of the complaints indicate that the drug makers failed to adequately research their medication before aggressively marketing Invokana as a superior treatment for type 2 diabetes. As more individuals have been switched to the drug, a number of serious health risks have emerged, including a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), heart attacks, kidney failure and other complications.

“Plaintiffs assert that the Defendants engaged in aggressive, direct-to-consumer and physician marketing and advertising campaigns for Invokana,” the motion states. “However, consumers of Invokana were misled as to the drug’s safety and efficacy, and as a result have suffered serious and dangerous injuries.”

The motion suggests that the Invokana litigation should be transferred to U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey, who was recently appointed to the federal bench, but previously served as a mass tort judge in the New Jersey state court system, where he presided over cases involving injuries stemming from Mirena IUD, Yaz birth control, DePuy ASR hip implants and other medical products.

At least 36 of the Invokana cases pending throughout the federal court system were filed in New Jersey, where Johnson & Johnson’s U.S. headquarters are located. In addition, plaintiffs point out that the district is conveniently located and accessible from various major airports.

As Invokana injury lawyers nationwide continue to review and file claims for individuals who suffered an injury after using the new diabetes drug, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional lawsuits may be filed in the coming months and years.

Invokana Risks

Invokana was the first member of a new class of diabetes drugs introduced in recent years, known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which work in a unique way from other diabetes treatments. Other members of this class include Invokamet, Farxiga, Xigduo XR, Jardiance and Glyxambi.

Amid aggressive marketing and promotion by the drug makers, Invokana quickly became a popular and widely used medication. However, as more and more individuals began to use the drug, the FDA has required the drug maker to add a number of new warnings.

In December 2015, the FDA required Johnson & Johnson and the makers of other SGLT2 inhibitors to add new diabetic ketoacidosis warnings to their medications, urging users to stop taking the drug and seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms like abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, respiratory problems or vomiting.

In addition to concerns about ketacidosis, a number of lawsuits filed against the drug maker alleging that the drug makers knew or should have suspected that Invokana increases the risk of kidney failure.

In May 2015, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) conducted a detailed review of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA during the first year Invokana was on the market, and identified a potential risk of kidney damage with Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors, raising questions about whether the benefits provided by the medication justify the risk.

In June, the FDA released a new Invokana safety warning, indicating that the medication may increase the risk of acute kidney injury and other severe health problems. There have also been growing reports of heart attacks linked to the drug.

Similar Invokamet lawsuits, Farxiga lawsuits, Xigduo lawsuits, Jardiance lawsuits and Glyxambi lawsuits are also being reviewed against the makers of these other SGLT2 inhibitors, which have been linked to similar health risks. However, the motion filed with the U.S. JPML only mentions cases pending against the makers of Invokana at this time.

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