A jury in Illinois federal court awarded Plaintiff Jeffrey Konrad more than $140 million in litigation involving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Mr. Konrad sued AbbVie, the maker of AndroGel, after suffering a heart attack while using the gel, alleging the drugmaker failed to warn the product was linked to an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular effects. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged the company falsely marketed the drug as a treatment for age-related low testosterone, when the drug had never been approved for this purpose.
The verdict includes $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages. This is the second Plaintiff win in multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving a number of testosterone treatment manufacturers. The first verdict also involved AbbVie, and ended in a $150 million verdict for the Plaintiff for punitive damages. Jurors in that case held the company liable for aggressive marketing for unapproved uses.
AndroGel and testosterone replacement products in general are only for men with low levels of testosterone due to injury or disease, a condition called hypogonadism. However, testimony in the first two bellwether cases say AbbVie promoted its testosterone gel directly to men through direct-to-consumer advertising by fabricating a condition called “Low T” to treat symptoms such as low libido, weight gain and muscle loss.
Studies have linked testosterone replacement therapy to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and death, especially in older men.
The MDL dates back to 2014 and names drug companies such as AbbVie, Besins, Eli Lily and GlaxoSmithKline, and includes products AndroGel, Testim and Axiron, among others. The lawsuits were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois in Chicago under U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly. About 6,000 cases are now pending in the MDL, 4,200 of which name AbbVie’s top selling AndroGel.
The case is Konrad v. AbbVie Inc., case number 1:15-cv-00966, and the MDL is In re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, case number 1:14-cv-01748, both in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Beasley Allen lawyer Matt Teague is handling testosterone replacement therapy litigation for the firm, and serves on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for the MDL. For more information, call 800-898-2034 or email Matt.Teague@beasleyallen.com.