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Will the JPML Approve Consolidation of Onglyza Lawsuits?

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If you’ve filed an Onglyza lawsuit, or if you’re thinking about it, mark January 25, 2018 on your calendar. That is the day that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will be hearing arguments about whether to consolidate all federally-filed cases before one court for pre-trial proceedings.

Last October, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion with the JPML seeking consolidation of all Onglyza cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Defendant AstraZeneca, the drug manufacturer, opposed consolidation, stating that there weren’t enough cases filed to warrant it.

The JPML will hear arguments on January 25th, and will then make a decision regarding whether to form an Onglyza MDL.

JPML Looking Into Transferring at Least 42 Onglyza Lawsuits Into One Court

In a “notice of hearing session” filed on December 15, 2017, the JPML noted that they had scheduled a hearing session in Miami, Florida to consider various matters. The first matter on the schedule concerns consolidating the Onglyza lawsuits. The order lists at least 42 cases that are currently pending in courts across the country that would be transferred to one judge should the JPML agree that consolidation is a good idea.

If the JPML sides with the plaintiffs who filed the motion, all federally-filed Onglyza lawsuits will be transferred to one court of the panel’s choosing for pre-trial proceedings. Such a move, according to the plaintiffs, would reduce the risk of duplicative discovery and conflicting rulings, and would make the resolution of the litigation more efficient.

Onglyza Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure

Onglyza (saxagliptin) is a type 2 diabetes medication that’s been on the market since 2009. In 2014, the FDA issued a drug safety communication indicating that they were investigating a possible association between use of the drug and heart failure. They later reported that there was, indeed, a link between Onglyza and an increased risk of heart failure.

In 2016, the FDA issued a drug safety communication indicating they had required the manufacturers of Onglyza and other drugs like it to add warnings concerning heart failure to their product labels. Meanwhile, many plaintiffs who took the drug and then experienced heart failure have filed Onglyza lawsuits in an attempt to recover damages.

Type 2 Diabetes Drugs May Increase Risk of Heart Failure

Onglyza is one of a class of drugs known as “dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DDP-4) inhibitors,” also called “incretin mimetics.” (Januvia is also part of this class.) These drugs stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin after a patient eats a meal. The extra insulin helps process the glucose to keep levels within a normal range.

The FDA states in the 2016 safety communication that type 2 diabetes medications containing saxagliptin (like Onglyza) and alogliptin (like Kazano and Nesina) may increase the risk of heart failure, particularly in patients who already have heart or kidney disease. Symptoms of heart failure may include shortness of breath, trouble breathing when lying down, weight gain, swelling in the legs and feet, and weakness or fatigue.