AndroGel Lawsuit Parties Propose Bellwether Trial Candidates

Published on July 28, 2016 by Sandy Liebhard

The federal testosterone litigation continues to wrestle with the selection of cases for the proceeding’s first bellwether trials. Earlier this week, the parties involved in the massive multidistrict litigation each identified a number of AndroGel lawsuits as bellwether candidates. However, they have yet to agree on a final list.

More than 5,500 testosterone lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of men who allegedly suffered serious cardiovascular complications due to their use of prescription low-T therapy. Because the majority of claims allege injuries due to AndroGel, the multidistrict litigation’s first trials – which will likely get underway next year – will involve that medication.

Previously, 24 AndroGel lawsuits were identified as possible bellwether trial candidates, and those complaints have been undergoing case-specific discovery. On July 25th, the parties each submitted their final selection lists to the Court, at which time plaintiffs identified six cases and the defense identified eight.

On July 27th, the judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation indicated in a docket entry that he had concerns regarding a number of cases proposed by each side, as well as concerns about cases that were omitted for the selection. He has scheduled a hearing on August 3rd to address the matter.

The Court still intends to make its final AndroGel trial selections by the previously imposed deadline of August 5th.

Testosterone and the Heart

The federal testosterone litigation was established in 2014, shortly after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was reviewing several studies which suggested that AndroGel and other low-T treatments might be associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. In March 2015, the agency announced that new information regarding these complications would be added to the labels of all prescription testosterone treatments. The FDA also directed the  drugs’ makers to modify the labels to clearly state that prescription low-T therapy has never been proven safe and effective for  the treatment of age-related symptoms in men.

Plaintiffs pursing testosterone lawsuits in Illinois federal court accuse the manufacturers of AndroGel and other low-T medications of concealing the drugs’ cardiovascular risks and failing to provide doctors and patients with adequate safety warnings. Plaintiffs also assert that millions of men turned to low-T therapy in absence of a true medical need due to deceptive marketing that characterized the medications as appropriate remedies for age-related problems in men.

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