Even as U.S. health regulators continue to review the safety of low testosterone therapy, the federal judge overseeing lawsuits involving AndroGel and similar drugs continues to move the litigation forward. In an Order issued on August 1st, U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois appointed 33 plaintiffs’ attorneys to various leadership positions in the proceeding.
All of the lawsuits pending in Illinois claim that the use of prescription testosterone treatments caused men to suffer heart attacks, strokes, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart failure and other life-threatening cardiovascular problems. Judge Kennelly did acknowledge that the number of lawyers tapped for the litigation is unusually high, but he asserted that the proceeding is far from typical, as it already involves six different manufacturers. While just under 150 testosterone lawsuits have been filed in the proceeding so far, the possibility exists that the litigation could ultimately involve hundreds of cases.
According to the Order, the structure for plaintiff’s leadership will consist of the following:
Finally, Jude Kennelly directed Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel to submit a proposed order outlining the division of responsibilities by the leadership group by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing its investigation of low testosterone therapy, which the agency announced in January. As part of its review, the FDA is planning to convene a meeting of outside advisors on September 17th. Among other things, the advisors will be asked to make recommendations pertaining to the cardiovascular side effects associated with the medications. They will also address what factors should be considered when deciding whether men need to use testosterone medications.