Lawsuits alleging injury due to Invokana and Invokamet continue to mover forward in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. According to a Pretrial Order dated March 21st, the Court has now established Common Benefit Fee and Expense Funds “to provide for the fair and equitable sharing among plaintiffs, and their counsel, of the burden of services performed and expenses incurred by attorneys acting for the common benefit of all plaintiffs in this complex litigation.”
The Order applies to all Invokana and Invokamet lawsuits currently pending in the proceeding, as well as any filed in or transferred to the District of New Jersey in the future.
“Common benefit work product includes all work performed for the benefit of all plaintiffs, including pre-trial matters, discovery, trial preparation, a potential settlement process, and all other work that advances this litigation to conclusion,” the Order states.
The federal Invokana litigation was established in December in order to allow all federally-filed lawsuits alleging diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney injuries to undergo coordinated pretrial proceedings. At the time, 55 cases were centralized in the District of New Jersey. 126 cases were pending in the litigation as of March 15th.
Invokana and Invokamet belong to a class of Type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors. Both contain canagliflozin, while Invokamet also contains an older diabetes drug called metformin. SGLT inhibitors lower blood sugar levels by inhibiting the absorption of sugar by the kidneys, resulting in its elimination via urine. Invokana brought to market in March 2013, and was the first SGLT inhibitor to be approved for use in the U.S.
In December 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the manufacturers of Invokana, Invokamet and other SGLT2 inhibitors to update their labeling with information about diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when toxic acids called ketones accumulate in the blood, and may lead to diabetic coma or death when not recognized and treated appropriately.
“Patients should stop taking their SGLT2 inhibitor and seek medical attention immediately if they have any symptoms of ketoacidosis, a serious condition in which the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones,” the FDA stated. “Symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, and trouble breathing. “
Last June, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of several SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana and Invokamet, to strengthen label warnings regarding renal complications, after the drugs were implicated in more than 100 reports of acute kidney injury.