The Illinois federal judge overseeing thousands of testosterone treatment lawsuits has scheduled 19 new trial dates involving AndroGel.
The trials will go forward unless AbbVie, Inc. agrees to a global settlement of all pending AndroGel claims, which were filed on behalf of men who suffered heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, allegedly related to their use of the popular testosterone treatment.
More than 6,500 testosterone lawsuits are currently pending in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. The majority of these cases involve AndroGel, the most popular testosterone replacement drug on the market.
While the manufacturer of some other prescription testosterone drugs, including Axiron and Testim, have agreed to testosterone settlements, AbbVie has not even entered into settlement negotiations.
According to an Order dated April 19th, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, scheduled 19 AndroGel trials to begin between October 2, 2018 and March 4, 2019. The proceedings will be presided over by 12 U.S. District Judges and will follow two AndroGel bellwether trials set to be convened in the Northern District of Illinois in May and June.
The federal testosterone litigation was established in 2014, shortly after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was reviewing several studies which linked drugs like AndroGel to 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 testosterone treatments had never been proven safe and effective for the treatment of age-related symptoms in men.
Plaintiffs pursuing AndroGel lawsuits and other testosterone claims accuse defendants of concealing the cardiovascular side effects associated with their products and failing to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings of these risks. Plaintiffs also assert that millions of men with no true medical need were induced to use testosterone replacement drugs due to deceptive marketing that characterized the medications as appropriate remedies for weight gain, low libido, fatigue and other problems associated with normal, age-related testosterone depletion.
The federal testosterone litigation has already convened several bellwether trials involving AndroGel, which were intended to provide insight into how juries might rule in similar claims.
In March, a federal 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.