Janssen Pharmaceuticals is looking to have more than 100 product liability suits related to its diabetes drug Invokana moved from state to federal court.
The unit of Johnson & Johnson wants the lawsuits, which were originally filed to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, removed to federal court by way of the Class Action Fairness Act.
A notice of removal to the U.S. Eastern District Court was filed on November 17 by Gregory T. Sturges in the case of Portnoff v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
“The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has original subject-matter jurisdiction over these actions because, together, they constitute a ‘mass action,'” said the notice, according to The Legal Intelligencer.
One of the attorneys representing a number the plaintiffs told the law journal he plans to file a swift response to challenge the removal.
Invokana Risks Include Kidney Failure and Ketoacidosis
The pending lawsuits in districts around the country accuse Janssen Pharmaceuticals of downplaying the risk of severe side effects and failing to warn its patients.
Invokana is a Type 2 drug designed to treat diabetes called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 SGLT2 inhibitors. The prescription medication is meant to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to help control blood sugar levels.
However, hundreds of patients have suffered severe and unexpected side effects after taking the drug, including kidney failure, heart attacks, and ketoacidosis.
Between March 2013 and October 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 101 confirmed reports of acute kidney injury related to Invokana and similar drugs. Then, in December 2015, the FDA added warnings and precautions to the labels of SGLT2 inhibitors to describe the risk of ketoacidosis and life-threatening infections.
More recently, the FDA strengthened its existing warning about the risk of acute kidney injury related to Invokana in June 2016.
Janssen Being Sued For a Failure to Warn of Invokana Risks
The first United States lawsuit against Invokana was filed in October 2015 by Jennifer Anzo. Shortly after starting treatment with Invokana, Anzo developed diabetic ketoacidosis.
“As a result of her development of diabetic ketoacidosis, Plaintiff developed serious complications such as nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal pain, severe dehydration, labored breathing, low blood pressure, and tachycardia,” according to the court documents.
Since then hundreds of others have come forward to take action against Janssen Pharmaceuticals for failing to properly warn its customers of potentially life-threatening side effects like ketoacidosis and kidney failure.
Meanwhile, plaintiffs filed a petition in September to consolidate more 87 cases across 11 federal districts. The lawyers argue that it would improve the efficiency of the litigation based on the fact that all of the cases allege the same wrongful conduct and share essentially the same discovery, documents, and depositions. The decision on the petition is still pending.