This article provides details on litigation timelines and plaintiff complaints for AndroGel lawsuits involving AbbVie, Inc. and Abbott Laboratories, Inc. Lawsuits against AndroGel and manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, Inc. began in 2014, with five men who alleged that they had suffered cardiac issues that were deemed life-threatening after using the gel-based testosterone treatment. Details of these lawsuits state that one of the men suffered a mini-stroke, the other a stroke, and the remaining three experienced heart attacks.
The Allegations Against Manufacturers
The lawsuits allege that the AndroGel manufacturer failed to properly warn patients or physicians about the potential side effects associated with their products. According to the plaintiffs, this was an intentional oversight intended to make the product appeal to more clients, therefore increasing company profits substantially.
As lawsuits have compiled to around 2,500, they have been consolidated to form multidistrict litigation in a Chicago courtroom. The complaints all allege similar issues: instances of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and even death after product use. They also complain that both Abbott and its partner company, which also produces AndroGel, AbbVie Inc., executed an aggressive and misleading advertising campaign for the purpose of convincing men across the country that they suddenly had a condition called “Low T.”
Allegations Of Artificial “Low T” Disease
As men age, their testosterone levels naturally lower. This can cause unwanted side effects, like loss of muscle or bone mass, increased fatigue, and decreased sex drives. Plaintiffs allege that the companies took these side effects and created a marketing campaign based on “disease awareness” for a disease that had never previously existed. In the process, documents note, that they made over $1 billion in sales of AndroGel alone.
AndroGel and similar low testosterone therapy treatments were originally designed and FDA approved to treat men suffering from significantly low levels of testosterone and a condition called hypogonadism. This condition can be diagnosed by testing testosterone levels with a physician. Many men, however, who were not diagnosed with this condition, were prescribed low testosterone therapies for, according to complaints, things that may just be the result of old age.
Details On Compensation
Plaintiffs involved in MDL 2545 are looking for compensation for both past and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering, and income loss, among other things. Additionally, they are asking for punitive damages. These cases will be overseen by Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, who can determine whether or not punitive damages are also applicable, based on whether or not he believes that AbbVie and Abbott showed direct, willful disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs.
FDA Takes Action
After two studies seemed to corroborate with these complains by linking the low t drugs with cardiac events and heart attacks, the FDA also stepped in to make an announcement. The agency indicated that they would be investigating the products in depth, and asked that the manufacturers change their warning labels in the meantime, to better reflect risks that have been brought to life. Additionally, they reminded consumers that the products were approved for men with a diagnosed medical condition, and were not intended to be used to combat general signs of aging.
These cases will be seen in 2016 in the form of bellwether trials which will set the precedent for future cases. Additional low testosterone therapy drugs and manufacturers are set to head to trial in 2017 as well. I will continue to keep you posted on the latest news and updates regarding these trials.