The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to patients and doctors in 2015 that a popular diabetes medication could cause serious side effects. Despite this, 2015 sales of Invokana were nearly $1 billion. But Invokana’s popularity might also be its downfall.
An increasing number of lawsuits are being filed alleging Invokana’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks of ketoacidosis, kidney damage, and even death.
While no multidistrict litigation has been formed for Invokana litigation to date, many cases are pending in courts across the country. Just over 40 cases have been filed in Pennsylvania, and both Illinois and Missouri have more than 150 cases currently pending.
How Does Invokana Work?
Invokana is an oral medication that helps control blood sugar levels of diabetes patients by helping the kidneys purge glucose from the bloodstream through the urine. However, Invokana can also cause a dangerous a condition called ketoacidosis, where the body overproduces ketones. If left untreated, ketoacidosis can cause patients to go into a diabetic coma.
In addition to the risk of ketoacidosis, Invokana also puts patients at risk of kidney failure because the medication can put an extreme amount of stress on the kidneys. Because there is no cure for kidney failure, patients must undergo dialysis while waiting for a complete kidney transplant.
Although Invokana lawsuits are in the very early phases, plaintiffs are already fiercely battling Janssen for the right to go to trial. Janssen and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), have already filed motions to remove some of the cases filed in Pennsylvania state court and are trying out a federal preemption argument in other state cases. While the companies might be trying to figure out the best defense strategy for Invokana cases, plaintiffs are quickly lining up to take the companies head on.