An Illinois federal jury has ordered AbbVie, Inc. to pay $3.2 million to an Oregon man, after finding that the company’s AndroGel testosterone treatment caused his heart attack.
Jesse Mitchell was initially awarded $150 million in punitive damages last year, after another jury found that AbbVie engaged in false advertising when it marketed AndroGel. However, no compensatory damages were awarded because the jury was unable to conclude that the medication had actually caused his heart attack.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois dismissed that verdict and ordered a retrial in December, after finding that the jury’s decision was “logically incompatible” with the evidence presented at trial.
According to his lawsuit, Mitchell had been using AndroGel for four years before he suffered his heart attack. On Monday, the second jury convened to hear his case awarded him $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. Though they found for Mitchell on his claim of negligence, jurors disagreed that AbbVie had engaged in false advertising and cleared the company of strict liability and fraudulent misrepresentation.
Yesterday’s verdict marks the second win for an AndroGel plaintiff in the Northern District of Illinois. In August, another heart attack victim was awarded $140 million in compensatory and punitive damages after the jury hearing that case found that AbbVie misrepresented the drug’s safety.
The jury empaneled for the federal litigation’s second AndroGel trial returned a verdict for AbbVie in January.
As bellwether trials, the three cases were intended to provide some insight into how juries might rule in similar AndroGel lawsuits.
More than 6,200 testosterone lawsuits have been centralized in the Northern District of Illinois, all of which were filed on behalf of men who suffered heart attacks, blood clots and other cardiovascular problems allegedly related to the use of prescription testosterone replacement drugs.
While the majority of pending claims involve AndroGel, the manufacturers of several other medications, including Axiron, Testim, and AndroDerm, are also facing lawsuits.
In January, Eli Lilly & Co., announced it had tentatively agreed to settle all Axiron lawsuits pending in the proceeding. The following month, Endo Pharmaceuticals, its Auxilium subsidiary and GlaxoSmithKline proposed a testosterone settlement that could ultimately resolve some 1,300 lawsuits involving Testim and other drugs.
Details of these agreements have not been disclosed. However, stays have been ordered in all of the affected cases to facilitate the ongoing settlement discussions.