$150 Million Verdict Against AbbVie in “Low T” Trial
On July 24, 2017, jurors returned a $150 million verdict for the plaintiff in the latest testosterone (“Low T”) trial against manufacturer, AbbVie. Jurors decided that the drug maker fraudulently misrepresented its product, AndroGel®, to the public in its marketing tactics. However, the jurors did not find that AbbVie was responsible or negligent for the plaintiff’s heart attack, which he alleged stemmed from four years of use of Androgel®.
What are Low Testosterone Drugs?
AndroGel® is one of many testosterone drugs on the market. Testosterone therapy is helpful when men develop a condition called hypogonadism, which is when the body does not produce enough testosterone. Some men are born with the condition while others develop it, usually from an injury or an infection. Testosterone drugs were approved by the FDA for treatment of this condition. However, many manufacturers of testosterone resorted to aggressively marketing these drugs as treatment for the natural condition of aging. This lead to the FDA requiring a label change in 2015. The label cautions that testosterone products are approved only for men having low testosterone levels caused by medical conditions. The FDA also requires that the labels include the possibility of increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with testosterone therapy.
What is the Status of the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) on “Low T”?
Currently there are over 6000 lawsuits filed by men in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) against various manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapy (including AndroGel®). The first trial in the MDL was declared a mistrial after one of the plaintiff lawyers suffered health issues. That testosterone trial is rescheduled for later this year. The latest testosterone therapy trial resulted in a $150 million verdict. The trial included testimony from the former commissioner of the FDA, David Kessler. Kessler contended that AbbVie marketed its drug to men by basically inventing a condition called “Low T” (low testosterone). Advertising and marketing focused on symptoms such as low sex drive, weight gain and loss of muscle mass. Kessler explained that these are conditions of the natural aging process as opposed to a medical condition. The plaintiff in this trial alleged that he used Androgel® for about four years (2008 – 2012) after he saw television advertising for the drug. He suffered a heart attack in 2012. Testosterone has been alleged to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular episodes and stroke in scientific studies.
The next testosterone trial is scheduled for August of 2017.
If you or a family member has suffered a stroke or a heart attack and you believe it may be related to the use of AndroGel® or other testosterone therapy drugs, you should immediately contact an attorney for a free consultation about your potential lawsuit. Brett H. Oppenheimer is a lawyer in Louisville, KY and is currently reviewing potential lawsuits for people using testosterone replacement therapy.