Federal Invokana Lawsuits Centralized in New Jersey

Published on December 8, 2016 by Sandy Liebhard

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has centralized all federally-filed Invokana lawsuits in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. However, the new proceeding will not include product liability claims involving other Type 2 diabetes drugs in the same class.

According to a Transfer Order issued by the JPML on December 7th, the new Invokana litigation currently includes 55 lawsuits, though future federal filings will also be eligible for transfer to New Jersey. All of the claims were filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney damage and other side effects related to their use of the medication.

In agreeing to centralize the Invokana docket, the JPML found that the cases would benefit from the convenience and efficiency of a multidistrict litigation. However, the panel declined to include lawsuits involving Jardiance or Farxiga, as well as claims that name multiple medications, in the proceeding.

“We are ‘typically hesitant to centralize litigation against multiple, competing defendants which marketed, manufactured and sold similar products,’” the Panel wrote. “Centralizing competing defendants in the same MDL may unnecessarily complicate case management, due to the need to protect trade secret and confidential information.”

FDA Warnings for SGLT2 Inhibitors

Invokana, Farxiga and Jardiance all belong to a class of Type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors. These drugs lower blood glucose levels by inhibiting the absorption of sugar by the kidneys, thus allowing its elimination via urine. Invokana is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which also sells Invokamet, a combination of Invokana and metformin.  Farxiga is marketed and distributed by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., while Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. market Jardiance.

In December 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required that the manufacturers of all SGLT2 inhibitors implement label changes to reflect the potential for diabetic ketoacidosis. At that time, the drugs’ labels were also updated to include information about life-threatening blood infections (urosepsis) and kidney infections (pyelonephritis) that originate as urinary tract infections.

In June, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of several SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana and Farxiga, to strengthen label warnings regarding kidney complications, after the drugs were cited in more than 100 reports of acute kidney injury.

Invokana may also be linked to bone fractures, as well as an increased risk of toe amputations.

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