A lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer Inc. alleging that testosterone treatments cause heart problems. The lawsuit accuses the drugmaker of promoting its Depo-Testosterone treatment as safe and effective despite its risks of causing heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Pfizer and its unit Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC are accused of conducting a “disease mongering” campaign to exaggerate the prevalence of testosterone problems in order to boost sales of Depo-Testosterone, despite its heart health risks. The lawsuit was filed by Alvaro Roman Gutierrez, who alleges that his use of the drug caused him serious physical injury and harm.
The Plaintiff says that the Defendants spent millions of dollars on efforts to expand the consumer base for the treatment. It’s alleged that the defendants, along with other pharmaceutical companies not named in the suit, have advertised common symptoms including listlessness and increased body fat as possible signs of testosterone deficiency. The complaint states:
As a direct and proximate result of the plaintiff’s use of Depo Testosterone, also known as Testosterone Cypionate, and plaintiff’s reliance on defendants’ representations regarding the character and quality of the products and defendants’ failure to comply with federal requirements, plaintiff suffered serious physical injury, harm, damages and economic loss and will continue to suffer such harm, damages and economic loss in the future.
The Plaintiff claims that Pfizer had a duty to warn him or his doctors of the potential heart risks stemming from the drug and that it didn’t do so, in part by failing to update its label since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it. Other companies that have been sued over testosterone treatments include Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Prostrakan Group PLC, which were sued in the Pennsylvania court in May over their testosterone-boosting Fortesta gel.
Those suits claim that Fortesta, which was developed by U.K.-based Prostrakan and licensed to Endo for sale in the U.S., is an unnecessary drug pushed commercially to treat a disease that does not exist. In the suits, the plaintiffs claim that their use of the testosterone-enhancing gel led to heart attacks.