The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation noted that the claims made against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals had similar questions of fact and would be more efficient if pretrial proceedings were consolidated. In consolidating the lawsuits, however, the panel decided not to include Farxiga and Jardiance, which are similar diabetes medications that also face lawsuits.
At the time of consolidation—early December 2016—29 lawsuits from New Jersey were joined with additional lawsuits from other district courts, including California, Georgia, and Illinois. The judicial panel noted it was aware of 44 related federal actions that were not included in the transfer order. In September 2016, plaintiffs filed a motion to consolidate the lawsuits, which Janssen agreed to on the basis that the lawsuits raised similar issues.
Those lawsuits alleged diabetes patients were put at an increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney damage because Janssen did not properly test its drug and did not warn patients about those risks when the drug was made available for patient use. Janssen has said it stands by the safety of its drug and will defend against the allegations.
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Lawsuit consolidation is not a comment on the merits of the claims, it is simply done when a large number of lawsuits have similar questions of fact and the judicial panel finds it more efficient to consolidate for early proceedings. The panel ruled against including similar drugs in the multidistrict litigation because having a multi-defendant multidistrict litigation could draw out the proceedings.
As of December 15, 2016, there were 63 lawsuits consolidated in the multidistrict litigation. The lawsuits are consolidated in MDL 2750, In Re: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation before US District Judge Brian R. Martinotti.