Invokana lawsuits will be consolidated in federal court in New Jersey per a Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation. Effective immediately, the Panel transferred Invokana and Invokamet (canagliflozin and metformin) lawsuits from districts in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, Virginia and West Virginia to the District of New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti.
The new MDL will consolidate the cases for purposes of discovery and hopefully expedite the Invokana lawsuits through the federal judicial process.
Invokana and Invokamet belong to a class of Type 2 diabetes drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors that work by stopping the kidneys from reabsorbing blood sugar. The excess sugar then passes out of the body in urine.
However, the FDA has issued a warning about this class of drugs because they have been linked to ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition in which toxins accumulate in the blood. In addition to ketoacidosis, there have been numerous reports of severe kidney damage, pancreatitis, cardiac issues, and bone fractures in those patients who’ve used the drug.
During a 2013 Congressional testimony, Dr. Sydney Wolfe of Public Citizen, a prominent consumer watchdog group, argued that the possible risks of Invokana outweighed its potential benefits and said that the drug should not be approved.
Since that time, other safety groups—including the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)—have said that at the time of FDA approval, Invokana had not been sufficiently tested in clinical trials. The group casts doubt on whether Invokana’s benefits outweigh its risks, which is the cornerstone of FDA drug approval.
The multidistrict litigation against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, involves hundreds lawsuits but this number could increase. Plaintiffs allege Invokana may cause a number of serious injuries and Janssen failed to adequately test the drug and warn patients and doctors of risks.