A Chicago federal jury has awarded over $140 million to a Tennessee man who accused AbbVie, Inc. of misrepresenting the cardiovascular risks associated with its AndroGel testosterone drug.
The case was the second bellwether trial in a litigation involving more than 6,000 testosterone lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Androgel and other prescription testosterone treatments.
The consolidated proceeding’s first bellwether case concluded in July, when a plaintiff from Oregon was awarded $150 million in punitive damages after the jury hearing his case determined that AbbVie had engaged in false advertising when it marketed the Androgel.
According to his complaint, Jeffrey Konrad, 56, of Colliersville, Tennessee, suffered a heart attack just two months after he began treatment with AndroGel in 2010.
During the trial, Konrad’s attorneys argued that AbbVie had failed to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings regarding the drug’s potential cardiovascular risks.
The jury rendered its verdict on October 10th, awarding Konrad $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages.
Androgel is one of the most popular prescription testosterone treatments on the market, with sales peaking at $1.1 billion in 2012.
Plaintiffs involved in the consolidated testosterone litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois point out that the medications are only approved to treat hypogonadism, or low testosterone secondary to an injury or medical condition. They further charge that AbbVie and other testosterone manufacturers invented an illness – Low T – to induce otherwise healthy men to use their products to relieve fatigue, low libido, and other symptoms that accompany the natural male aging process.
In March 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the manufacturers of AndroGel and other testosterone treatments to update their product labels with information about their possible association with a heightened risk of heart attacks and stroke.
The FDA also mandated that the labels clearly state that testosterone-replacement therapy is only approved to treat hypogonadism, and has not been proven safe and effective for relieving symptoms caused by age-related drops in testosterone.
Testosterone labels underwent a second modification in June 2015, after the FDA determined that they should include a general warning in regarding a risk of venous thromboembolism, venous blood clots that include deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.