The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted a coordinated docket for more than 100 lawsuits alleging the diabetes drug Invokana caused significant injuries. Cases are currently being transferred and coordinated in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
All of these Invokana lawsuits have similar allegations against manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Plaintiffs allege the drug led to chronic kidney disease caused by a condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is a buildup in the blood of proteins called ketones. This condition can cause patients to suffer from a diabetic coma, require extended hospitalization, and can even cause death.
This past summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning for patients and doctors about Invokana and similar drugs. Between 2013 and 2015, the FDA received 101 reports of kidney injuries associated with Invokana use. This prompted the FDA to heighten its warnings regarding Invokana to include the risk of potentially life-threatening side effects like ketoacidosis and other kidney injuries.
Kidney injuries are not the only debilitating side effects reportedly caused by Invokana. Several months ago, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) warned doctors to discontinue use of Invokana in certain patients because the drug had an increased risk of amputations. An ongoing study found patients taking Invokana were twice as likely to require foot amputations than patients taking a placebo.
The newly created multidistrict litigation (MDL) will help Invokana patients from across the country get to a quicker resolution. Now that the MDL has been formed, more Invokana lawsuits will likely be filed. Janssen and J&J face a large number of lawsuits over more than one of their prescription medications, including Risperdal, so the companies might consider resolving Invokana lawsuits before the litigation grows to large numbers.