Diabetes Drug Invokana Is J&J's Cure for Subpar Performance

Diabetes Drug Invokana Is J&J's Cure for Subpar Performance

Rarely far from the pharmaceutical headlines, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have big plans for popular diabetes drug Invokana in 2017.

Following disappointing revenue results reported earlier this week, the company’s drugs and medical devices profits in Q4 2016 have been held up as a silver lining heading into this new quarter.

Seeking to revitalize sales of Invokana and other leading drugs, J&J is citing results from a recent study of 4,300 patients using the drug to positive effect in fighting type-II diabetes. Known as CANVAS and conducted over seven years, the study promises to be just the kind of announcement that markets love.

Even with this new marketing and PR push, however, Invokana will also see J&J dragged through the courts.

Lawsuits related to the drug’s side effects, which include damage to the kidneys, UTIs, and cardiovascular problems, have been consolidated into multidistrict legislation (MDL) in New Jersey. The cases seek substantial damages from J&J, alleging the company failed to communicate Invokana’s dangers and acted fraudulently to boost its sales.

Two patients who reported concerns to the FDA are known to have died of heart attacks following hospitalization for acute kidney disease, while another two passed away from other complications at the same time as taking the drug.

It was only a little over six months ago that the FDA strengthened its warnings about Invokana’s potential to inflict acute kidney injury. More than 50% of cases reported to the authority experienced severe kidney impairment within one month of taking the drug, prompting calls for increased vigilance and additional information for patients.

Those calls appear to have gone unheeded by the pharmaceutical giant, which is likely to see renewed interest in Invokana as a positive indicator that it can claw back the revenue lost to currency fluctuations during 2016. What this fails to consider, as usual, is the damaging effects that the drug could have on certain patient segments if its shortcomings are glossed over once again.

If you are considering taking a drug like Invokana – or others that reside in the SGLT2 class – we strongly recommend learning about the many reported dangers before starting the medication.

Be sure to discuss these concerns with your medical practitioner and consider a legal evaluation if you have taken Invokana without being made aware of the side effects.  




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