More than a hundred lawsuits waged against Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals alleging the company’s type 2 diabetes drug Invokana caused kidney injuries will stay in federal court after they were removed from state court, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled.
Attorneys representing the 106 plaintiffs had sought to consolidate the cases in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, but Janssen removed the cases to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act. Janssen had asked that the cases ultimately be transferred to New Jersey, where several other Invokana lawsuits are pending.
Invokana, known chemically as canagliflozin, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013. It was the first in a class of diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors, and has quickly become the top-selling drug in its class and a contender in the type 2 diabetes treatment market.
Invokana works by metabolizing sugar through the kidneys and excreting the excess glucose through the urine. Plaintiffs allege that the drug can cause the buildup of acid in the blood, a serious condition called ketoacidosis. If left untreated, ketoacidosis can lead to diabetic coma and death. Plaintiffs also claim that Invokana can adversely affect the kidneys leading to kidney damage and acute kidney injury (AKI), both serious and potentially fatal conditions.
Consumers suing Janssen claim that the drug company did not fully test the drug to identify serious side effects, and thus did not adequately warn of Invokana risks.