In June, the first bellwether trial for the Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) multidistrict litigation (MDL) ended in a mistrial when the lead Plaintiff’s lawyer suffered from heart problems. The new trial started on Sept. 18 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois in Chicago. Jury selection was completed, opening statements done, and the Plaintiff began to call witnesses. The trial was still in progress when this issue went to the printer.
Plaintiff Jeffrey Konrad contends that his heart attack seven years ago was linked to the TRT drug AndroGel he started to use 65 days earlier. This is one of more than 7,000 claims pending against TRT manufacturers, including AndroGel maker AbbVie, Besins, Eli Lily and GlaxoSmithKline, as we previously reported. The claims are seeking to hold the manufacturers accountable for failing to warn users of potential cardiovascular side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TRT to treat hypogonadism, which occurs when the body does not produce enough of the male hormone. Plaintiffs maintain that despite not being designed to treat symptoms of age-related testosterone decline, manufacturers marketed the products as “fountain of youth” drugs to lure men who did not need the treatment to ask for it by name. They claim TRT manufacturers concocted a fictitious condition called “Low T”, which includes symptoms such as low libido, weight gain and muscle loss – all age-related symptoms.
The off-label use is ineffective and even puts men at increased risk of life-threatening events such as heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, the litigation alleges. A jury in July agreed and awarded another Plaintiff in the MDL $150 million in punitive damages. It found that AbbVie’s aggressive marketing scheme targeting aging men was fraudulent. Jeffrey Konrad’s case is one of seven cases in the class action selected as bellwethers – six of the claims are against AbbVie. The remaining bellwethers are scheduled through next April.
We will keep you updated on the trial. In the meanwhile, if you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking testosterone supplements, or if someone you love has died, you can contact Matt Teague, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Product Liability Section at 800-898-2034 or by email at Matt.Teague@beasleyallen.com. More information about testosterone replacement drugs or replacement therapy can be found on our Low-T page