After a large number of plaintiffs had filed an Invokana lawsuit the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized 55 cases in a new Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). To speed up proceedings and help the attorneys efficiently coordinate trials, testimony and negotiations, on December 7, U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti consolidated all individual cases under a single mass tort in a New Jersey Court, the MDL No. 2750 (In RE: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation).

Invokana (canagliflozin) is a new type-2 diabetes medication that helps control the blood sugar levels by forcing the removal of excess glucose through the urine. Originally approved in 2013, the medication immediately proved to be more dangerous than expected when, just two years later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a new warning about harmful side effects. Patients using the medications were, in fact, at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a potentially fatal condition. Other hazardous adverse reactions included severe kidney damage and failure, so, shortly thereafter a storm of canagliflozin litigations started being filed by patients who suffered these injuries or needed a renal transplant.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers accuse Janssen of releasing a defective drug to the market, inadequately test its safety, and failing to warn the public about its life-threatening dangers. The MDL includes many cases of different injuries, including systemic infections, amputated feet and bone fractures. This medication may also cause urinary tract infections (UTI) so severe that the regulatory agency added a black box label to warn patients about this risk.

Many other lawsuits have been already filed against similar drugs of the same class, the dreaded SLGT2-inhibitors such as Farxiga and Jardiance. In addition to the above risks, the side effects of these other antidiabetes agents included an otherwise unexplained acute pancreatitis that may bring patients to the brink of death, or even kill them outright. However, a dispute arose on whether the current MDL should also include these drugs, or just the Invokana and Invokamet cases. The panel eventually decided to keep the other medications out of the MDL to avoid unnecessary complications during case management caused by the need to protect confidential information as well as the trade secret