The federal court overseeing thousands of testosterone treatment lawsuits reported last month that the manufacturer of Androderm has finalized a settlement with more than 500 men who claim their use of the medication caused heart attacks, blood clots, and other cardiovascular injuries.
According to a Notification of Docket Entry filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois on July 26th, the date set for the first bellwether trial of an Androderm lawsuit that had been scheduled to begin on August 6th was vacated.
The Northern District of Illinois is home to a multidistrict litigation that houses more than 5,900 testosterone lawsuits, all of which accuse the manufactures of Androgel, Androderm, and other male hormone replacement drugs of failing to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings about the cardiovascular risks associated with their products.
Androderm and other prescription testosterone therapy drugs are only approved to treat hypogonadism, or low testosterone secondary to an injury or medical condition. They have not been proven safe and effective for men who experience decreasing testosterone levels merely due to aging.
However, plaintiffs pursuing testosterone lawsuits in Illinois charge that sales of the medications were driven by deceptive marketing claims that falsely characterized the low testosterone levels normally experienced by aging men as an “epidemic” and a “syndrome” called “Low-T” that required treatment.
In March 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered testosterone manufacturers to update their label warnings with information about an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. Several months later, the drugs’ prescribing information was updated yet again to include a general warning regarding a risk of venous thromboembolism, a dangerous type of venous blood clot that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
In June, Endo International PLC announced it had finalized a testosterone settlement to resolve all known product liability claims involving Testim and other male hormone replacement drugs marketed by its Endo Pharmaceuticals and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals subsidiaries.
In January, Eli Lilly & Co., announced it had agreed to settle all Axiron lawsuits pending in the federal litigation.
Details of the testosterone settlements announced thus far are confidential and none of the drug makers have admitted liability for plaintiffs’ injuries.
The majority of claims pending in the Northern District of Illinois involve AndroGel. So far 6 AndroGel lawsuits have gone to trial. The first trial concluded in July 2017, with the jury ordering AbbVie to pay the plaintiff $150 million in punitive damages for false advertising. However, the verdict was overturned when the judge overseeing the litigation ordered a retrial.
That retrial concluded in March, when another Illinois jury awarded the plaintiff $3.2 million.
The second bellwether trial of an AndroGel lawsuit resulted in a $140 million verdict. However, that verdict was overturned last month, when another retrial was ordered.
Juries have ruled for AbbVie in the remaining 4 AndroGel bellwether trials.