Plaintiffs who have filed Invokana lawsuits over ketoacidosis, kidney injuries and heart attacks are seeking to have their claims centralized in a single federal court. In a Motion for Transfer filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on September 21st, they argue that the creation of a multidistrict litigation for all federally-filed Invokana claims will reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts, and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
The Motion notes that there are currently 56 Invokana lawsuits pending in 11 federal jurisdictions, and asserts that more filings are likely. All of the cases allege similar wrongful conduct on the part of Johnson &Johnson and other defendants.
“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 U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, would be an appropriate venue for the proposed multidistrict litigation, as it “has sufficient resources to handle complex cases and is geographically convenient.” Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Jersey, and 36 Invokana lawsuits are already pending in that jurisdiction.
Invokana was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2013, and was the first of a class of Type 2 diabetes drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors to gain regulatory approval. Other drugs in this class include Farxiga, Jardiance, Invokamet, Xigduo XR and Glyxambi. According to data provided by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, use of SGLT2 inhibitors has grown from 336,000 prescriptions dispensed in the first quarter of 2014 to more than 2 million prescriptions in the final quarter of 2016, representing a six-fold increase. However, the medications have also been cited in hundreds of adverse event reports, including reports involving ketoacidosis and kidney failure/impairment.
In December 2015, the FDA required that the manufacturers of all SGLT2 inhibitors implement label changes o 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 Invokana, Invokamet, Farxiga and Xigduo XR to strengthen label warnings regarding kidney complications, after the drugs were cited in more than 100 reports of acute kidney injury.