Eli Lilly has settled over 400 testosterone lawsuits filed over the company's Low T drug Axiron, averting the first of two bellwether trials scheduled to begin in late-January.
By Laurence Banville
Leading pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has settled a host of testosterone lawsuits filed over its drug Axiron, Law 360 reports. A global settlement agreement, announced on December 22, 2017, will resolve over 400 product liability claims consolidated in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, a federal court in Chicago.
The terms of the settlement have not been made public, but in resolving the cases early, Lilly was able to avoid a scheduled slate of bellwether trials. The first Axiron trial was set to begin on January 29, 2018, with a second scheduled for March 5, 2018.
Testosterone Lawsuit MDL In ChicagoThousands of men say testosterone replacement therapy drugs increase the risk for severe cardiovascular complications, including stroke and heart attack. More than 6,000 similar lawsuits have been consolidated in Chicago, where US District Judge Matthew Kennelly is wrangling a litigation that has drawn some of the nation's largest pharmaceutical corporations into court.
Alongside Eli Lilly, testosterone lawsuits are currently pending against AbbVie, generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Endo and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, the company behind gel-based testosterone treatment Testim. On January 3, 2018, Auxilium settled a testosterone lawsuit, reaching an undisclosed arrangement with a couple and averting a trial of its own, scheduled to begin in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Two Bellwether Trial Losses For AbbVieAbbVie, the manufacturer of market leader AndroGel, has already lost two bellwether trials, Fierce Pharma reports. In October 2017, a man who suffered a heart attack after using the testosterone treatment was awarded over $140 million in compensation after a trial in the Illinois federal court.
Four months earlier, another man was granted $150 million in compensation by a jury in the same court. This earlier verdict was subsequently overturned, because the jury ordered AbbVie to pay solely punitive damages, with no compensatory damages assessed against the company. Judge Kennelly has ordered a new trial in the case.
The juries in both cases ruled that AbbVie's aggressive marketing campaigns had downplayed the treatment method's risks.
Pharma Companies Marketed Low T Drugs DangerouslyWhile specific allegations vary by manufacturer, the vast majority of testosterone lawsuits argue that prominent pharmaceutical companies effectively invented a non-existent medical condition (colloquially referred to as "Low T") that overstepped the drug's FDA-approved indications.
In actuality, testosterone replacement therapy is intended solely to treat diagnosed cases of hypogonadism, a condition in which the body produces insufficient amounts of testosterone. Testosterone manufacturers, however, marketed the drug for "Low T," a far more amorphous condition characterized, according to promotional materials, by such non-specific symptoms as general fatigue and "loss of energy."