The federal court overseeing thousands of testosterone lawsuits filed on behalf of men who claim their use of AndroGel caused heart attacks, strokes and blood clots is preparing to convene its next bellwether trial next month.
Accord to a Case Management Order issued in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, on April 1st, the trial will begin on May 7, 2018, and involve an Arizona man who allegedly suffered bilateral pulmonary emboli due to his use of AndroGel. He had not been diagnosed with hypogonadism and had been prescribed AndroGel off-label to treat perceived low testosterone.
The Plaintiff claims that Abbvie, Inc. and other defendants failed to warn patients about the cardiovascular risks associated with AndroGel and accuses the companies of improperly marketing the popular testosterone treatment as a safe and effective remedy for low libido, fatigue and other symptoms associated with normal male aging.
A total of 58 hours has been allotted for the AndroGel trial, excluding jury selection. Each side will be given half that time to present their case.
“Given the ordinary allocation of five hours per trial day, this would amount to a little under twelve full trial days, not including jury selection,” the Order states. “Because, however, the Court will set a longer-than-normal trial day, fewer than twelve days will be required.”
More than 6,200 testosterone lawsuits are currently pending in the Northern District of Illinois. The majority of these cases involve AndroGel, the most popular testosterone replacement drug on the market.
Last month, another Illinois jury awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages to an AndroGel heart attack plaintiff, after finding that AbbVie and other defendants had been negligent in their handling of the drug. 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 AndroGel’s safety.
The jury convened for the federal litigation’s second AndroGel trial returned a verdict for AbbVie in January.
As bellwether trials, all of these cases were intended to provide some insight into how juries might rule in similar AndroGel lawsuits.
In January, Eli Lilly & Co., announced it had tentatively agreed to settle all Axiron lawsuits pending in the federal testosterone litigation. 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.