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Ryan R. Bradley
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Invokana and SLGT2 Inhibitor Breakdown, part Three: The Litigation Process


Koester & Bradley Invokana Lawsuit attorneys As we discussed in prior posts, Invokana maker Johnson & Johnson has profited tremendously from the diabetes drug.  In fact, 2015 proved to be a banner year for the industry-leading SLGT2 inhibitor which made the J&J, the perennial pharmaceutical giant $1 Billion in the calendar year.  This fact is even more note worthy given the fact that in 2015 the US Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication on the drug in May stating the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.  This initial warning was followed up in December of 2015 with a similar warning about Invokana and increased urinary tract infections.  With the number of individuals injured by Invokana and other drugs in the class, law suits by consumer protection law firms throughout the United States and Canada have begun to accumulate.

Generally speaking, when there is a large group of individual plaintiffs that were all injured by the same drug or device, in this case Invokana, the cases are consolidated by the Federal Court in a common venue. This is known as the MDL process and it allows one judge and group of attorneys to handle the similar cases together and is more efficient in some cases than individual cases.  This is different from a class action, but act in a similar manner.  As of yet, there has not been a formal MDL consolidation at the Federal level, although certain venues across the country have many cases pending.  It is important to understand that each case against Janssen Pharma (a division of Johnson & Johnson) must be prosecuted on an individual basis due to the fact that the injures of each plaintiff are different in type and severity.

At the present time, Pennsylvania has a very large number of cases pending against the makers of Invokana.  As of June 2016, approximately 41 cases were filed in Philadelphia by plaintiffs that live all across the country.  These cases were consolidated in front of one judge.  Additionally, courts in Illinois and Missouri are presently handling north of 150 cases against Janssen and many in the mass tort community such as Koester & Bradley LLP believe that the consolidation in Chicago Illinois is likely the best venue for those injured by Invokana to seek to file their claims.  Accordingly, most industry insiders believe that a mass tort consolidation at the Federal level is imminent and will likely be in Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, or Missouri where many cases are already filed.

Johnson & Johnson is not laying down without a fight however and has already filed motions in the Philadelphia Court to move at least one case there to Texas, where the drug was initially taken by the plaintiff. That case, Landes v. Janssen Research & Development LLC et al.,will be a telling procedural step in the Invokana litigation process.  This same tactic is being used in Jeffries v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals and this time Janssen seeks to move the matter to Tennessee. A spokesperson for the company has insinuated that other such motion may be filed.  In yet another case also pending in Philadelphia County, Johnson & Johnson is also attempting to assert a Federal preemption argument.  In that case, the drug maker is testing other defense strategies that it may implement on a large scale as the litigation moves forward.  One this in certain, the plaintiff’s community is paying attention, and if you happened to be injured by Invokana or another SLGT2 Inhibitor listed below you are well advised to seek the advice of your doctor and an experienced attorney.

  • Invokamet (canagliflozin and metformin)
  • Farxiga (dapagliflozin)
  • Glyxambi (empagliflozin and linagliptin)
  • Jardiance (empagliflozin)
  • Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride extended-release)

Hundreds of Invokana lawsuits have already been filed, and below are a sampling:

April 25, 2016 – Texas plaintiff took Invokana for about a month and sustained kidney damage and ketoacidosis.  The lawsuit was filed against Janssen in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey Trenton Division (product liability lawsuit (PDF)).

March 31, 2016 – California plaintiff took Invokana and suffered an acute kidney injury and acute kidney failure.  According to this Plaintiff, the warning labels on the Invokana packaging, while mentioning the kidneys, only state that a “possible side effect” as a possibility.” Given the severity of the damage, this warning doesn’t adequately convey the dangers or address the actual risk of kidney failure, according to the complaint.

March 16, 2016 – Texas plaintiff suffered diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney damage after taking Invokana. According to this complaint, the plaintiff started taking Invokana in Oct. 2013 just when it was thought to be a top new blockbuster drug, and subsequently was diagnosed with both conditions. The suit was filed in New Jersey; plaintiff is seeking $10 million in damages from Janssen.  This case spotlights the fact that injuries can occur in as little time as a month and also develop over years.  Thus vigilance is necessary to monitor symptoms closely.

March 2, 2016 – Lousisana plaintiff took Invokana for only seven months yet still developed kidney damage and diabetic ketoacidosis. In his complaint against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, he alleges Janssen of failing to warn of the “unreasonably dangerous risks” associated with Invokana.   This is a typical products liability complaint in that it states that the drug, in this case Invokana, is so dangerous that its positive benefits are outweighed by the side effects.  This is known as the “risk utility” argument. The case is: Charles Maddox v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al. and can be accessed publicly online.

February 11, 2016 – Alabama plaintiff was diagnosed with ketoacidosis just 3 months after beginning treatment with Invokana.  This is one of the shortest periods of time on record to develop such serious complications.  Like the other lawsuits, this plaintiff asserts hat Janssen failed to notify the public, including doctors of the sever dangers associated with Invokana and that because of this the company was negligent and the drug is defective.

February 9, 2016 – In one of the first cases on file, a Tennessee plaintiff claims he was stricken with kidney failure after taking Invokana.   Plaintiff alleges he relied on claims made by the defendants that Invokana was safe for the treatment of type 2 diabetes through printed material and advertisements and relates his injuries on the companies’ failure to warn about the potential health risks associated with the drug. This case is filed in Federal Court in Tennessee.

Given the severity of the injuries connected with Invokana and other SLGT2 Inhibitors, whether or not you are presently experiencing symptoms it is wise to be on the lookout for early warning signs of ketoacidosis or other conditions and to follow the ongoing limitations here and on other news platforms.

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