August 28, 2013 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) has ordered (PDF) the centralization of dozens of diabetes drug lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. All responding parties support centralization. Plaintiffs in the actions allege that the drugs caused them or their decedent to develop pancreatic cancer.
In an unusual move, MDL No. 2452 will involve four anti-diabetic incretin-based medications made by four manufacturers:
- Januvia (sitagliptin) – Merck & Co.
- Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin) – Merck & Co.
- Byetta (exenatide) – Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly & Co.
- Victoza (liraglutide) – Novo Nordisk
The title of the litigation In re Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation was chosen to reflect the controversy at the heart of the litigation — whether drugs that regulate insulin levels by mimicking the incretin GLP-1 or inhibiting DPP-4 leads to pancreatic cancer.
There are currently more than 50 lawsuits pending in various district courts around the nation, with the vast majority already located in the Southern District of California. Most cases are now pending before Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.
The JPML decided to centralize the litigation in an MDL to eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve resources of the court and parties involved. They stated:
“We are “typically hesitant to centralize litigation against multiple, competing defendants which marketed, manufactured and sold similar products. … Plaintiffs in the cases now before us, however, make highly similar allegations about each of the four drugs that manage blood insulin levels and the propensity of those drugs to cause pancreatic cancer.”
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