Philadelphia Judge Allows Invokana Case to Proceed Against Janssen

invokana-warning kidney-damageJanssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. lost a motion to dismiss a Texas man’s complaint that Invokana gave him diabetic ketoacidosis, allowing his product liability claim to proceed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Janssen, based in Raritan, New Jersey, filed a forum non conveniens motion, which Judge Denis Cohen denied. The company argued that:

  • Plaintiff Matthew Landes took Invokana and suffered his injury in Texas.
  • It would be difficult for Janssen to get witnesses like the plaintiff’s physician to come to Pennsylvania to testify.
  • Invokana was manufactured in Puerto Rico and developed in New Jersey.

In opposition, plaintiff attorneys Scott Levensten and Michael Johnston of the Levensten Law Firm PC in Philadelphia argued successfully that most of the discovery would come from Janssen’s offices in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. The case is Landes v. Janssen Research & Development LLC et al., case number 160300269, in the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia.

Dozens of actions

Nearly 90 cases are pending against Janssen in Philadelphia courts. Invokana won approval from the Food & Drug Administration in 2013, but plaintiffs claim that it can cause a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, in which the body produces excess blood acids known as ketones.

Separately, dozens of plaintiffs who suffered kidney damage or ketoacidosis have filed a motion to create new MDL 2750 for Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation in federal court in New Jersey.

There are at least 56 actions pending in 11 different judicial districts against defendants Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, NJ, Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. of Titusville, NJ (a J&J subsidiary) and Tanabe of Osaka, Japan.

In June 2016, the FDA released a safety announcement concerning canagliflozin and dapagliflozin, strengthening the existing warning about the risk of acute kidney injury for the type 2 diabetes medicines canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga, Xigduo XR).

The FDA added a further warning for ketoacidosis, including “Reports of ketoacidosis, a serious life-threatening condition requiring urgent hospitalization have been identified in postmarketing surveillance in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus receiving sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, including INVOKANA.”

The FDA added even more warnings in August 2016. Also see: Health Canada Warns of Diabetic Ketoacidosis from Invokana Diabetes Drug

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

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