Invokana Lawsuits Consolidated

More than 55 Invokana lawsuits were consolidated in a New Jersey federal court. These lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson’s Type 2 diabetes drug, Invokana, can cause serious ketoacidosis, injuries to the patient’s kidneys, and other severe injuries. The judge in the case acknowledged the commonalities among the filed lawsuits, and cited enhanced efficiency when similar lawsuits were consolidated. Invokana lawsuits from New Jersey, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia and California were consolidated.

Plaintiffs in these cases allege Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential for Invokana use to result in kidney damage and ketoacidosis, yet failed to warn patients, and, in fact, continued to heavily promote this drug despite being aware the drug had not been adequately tested. The next step in these consolidated Invokana lawsuits is to choose bellwether cases—those which best represent the claims as a whole—and set dates for those trials.

About Invokana

Invokana was approved in 2013 as a new treatment for Type 2 diabetes. The drug belongs to a class of drugs known as SGLT2, or sodium-glucose co-transporter 2. A diabetic’s body fails to produce sufficient insulin, which can lead to dangerous blood sugar spikes. These blood sugar spikes damage the body over the course of time. Older diabetic drugs simply increased insulin levels in the body, however the newer SGLT2 inhibitors reduce the amount of sugar reabsorbed into the body via elimination of the sugar through the urine, potentially leading to kidney problems.

Invokana is also linked to cardiovascular risks, amputations, increased risk of bone fractures, and ketoacidosis—potentially fatal excessive levels of blood acids. Although the FDA strengthened the warnings on Invokana in the summer of 2016, the drug is still being sold to consumers. In 2015, Invokana sales netted Johnson & Johnson $1.3 billion, so the pharmaceutical giant has little incentive to remove the drug from the market.

Understanding Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Most commonly, only patients who have the more serious Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes will experience diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can occur when fat is used as a fuel source, rather than the body using glucose. The lack of glucose in the body is due to an inability to use sugar as a fuel due to a limited amount of insulin—a problem for those with more serious diabetes.

As the fat in the body is broken down, ketones (blood acids) build up in the urine and the blood of the patients, leading to severe vomiting, stiff muscles and muscle cramps, pain in the stomach, severe headache, decreasing alertness, a flushed face, frequent urination, dry skin and mouth, and “fruity” smelling breath. Those with severe cases of ketoacidosis can go into kidney failure, or can have fluid buildup in their brain, bowel tissue death and even heart attacks.

“Payments and Perks” from Drug Manufacturers to U.S. Doctors

Diabetic drugs dominated the “payments and perks” from drug manufacturers to U.S. doctors and hospitals in 2014. Invokana, a prescription drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, was second on a list detailing which companies paid out the most money to promote their drug. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, Bayer and Janssen, paid out $19.8 million in 2014 to doctors and hospitals, topped only by AstraZeneca’s diabetes drug Bydureon, with payments of $22.5 million. AstraZeneca defended the practice, saying all patients benefit when physicians are well informed about medications. Many people feel these payments are more of a payoff to doctors and hospitals for prescribing one drug over another.

Did Johnson & Johnson Exhibit a Failure to Warn Consumers?

Because there have been so many adverse event reports regarding serious side effects of Invokana, it is reasonable to assume Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen, were aware of the potential risks associated with the drug. Knowing the dangers, however, did not convince the companies to forego profits over patient safety, as no labeling changes were made to Invokana until the FDA stepped in.

No warnings or recalls were issued by J & J or Janssen despite the fact that several medical journals concluded that SGLT-2 drugs such as Invokana, have an unfavorable harm-benefit balance. It remains to be seen how the Invokana bellwether trials will go, but typically when a large pharmaceutical company loses the first few bellwether trials, they are more likely to consider settling the remaining lawsuits.

Contact Our National Dangerous Drug Lawyers

At Golomb Legal, our dangerous drug lawyers have considerable experience and success representing patients and families that have been injured by a negligent drug manufacturer. If you or someone you love has suffered injury after taking the dangerous drug Invokana, we can help. We believe in holding negligent pharmaceutical companies responsible for their actions and will fight aggressively for you and your family.

To learn more about your rights and legal options, call the Philadelphia defective drug lawyers at Golomb Legal today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.