An Invokana user who claims that the Type 2 diabetes drug caused him to develop diabetic ketoacidosis will be able to pursue his case against the drug’s manufacturers in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The complaint is just one of more than 90 Invokana lawsuits that are currently pending in Philadelphia, where plaintiffs have requested mass tort status for the growing litigation.
Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit had been seeking o have the lawsuit removed from Philadelphia, as the Plaintiff was allegedly injured while residing in Texas. Among other things, the companies argued that it would be difficult to have witnesses travel to Pennsylvania to testify. However, the Plaintiff’s attorneys were able to convince the Court that the bulk of discovery would involve information obtained from Janssen’s Pennsylvania and New Jersey offices.
Invokana came to market in March 2013, and was the first SGLT2 inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Last December, the agency required that new information regarding a potential association with diabetic ketoacidosis be added to all SGLT2 inhibitor labels, after a review uncovered dozens of reports of the condition among patients taking the medications.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is caused by a build-up of toxic acids in the blood called ketones. Without prompt medical attention, the condition has the potential to cause diabetic coma or death. The FDA is now recommending that patients stop taking their SGLT2 inhibitor and seek medical attention immediately if they develop any symptoms of ketoacidosis, including: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, and trouble breathing.
Just this past June, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of Invokana and several other SGLT2 inhibitors to strengthen label warnings regarding possible kidney complications, after the drugs were cited in more than 100 reports of acute kidney injury.
In addition to the Pennsylvania litigation, at least 57 Invokana lawsuits have been filed in federal courts on behalf of individuals who suffered diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney problems, heart attacks and other injuries allegedly related to their use of the medication. Next month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear oral arguments on a Motion to centralize those cases before a single judge in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Plaintiffs and defendants have voiced support for consolidation of the federal Invokana docket.