A wrongful death lawsuit against AbbVie Inc. involving its top selling AndroGel testosterone treatment will remain in state court, a California federal judge ruled, rejecting the drug company’s bid to hold off on until the case can be transferred to a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Illinois.
Evelyn Calvillo filed her lawsuit against AbbVie and the California-based distributor McKesson Corp., in Orange County Superior Court in July, alleging her husband died after using the testosterone replacement therapy. AbbVie argued that Calvillo had included McKesson in the lawsuit only to anchor her suit in California and that McKesson was not a suitable defendant. McKesson is not named in most other testosterone treatment cases, defense attorneys argued.
U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton said that argument had no bearing on this action and remanded the lawsuit to state court.
Abbott Laboratories is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as well as in other testosterone treatment lawsuits. The company spun off AbbVie in January 2013, during which the U.S. commercial rights and responsibilities for AndroGel were transferred from Abbott to AbbVie.
In June, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized more than 300 testosterone injury cases against AbbVie and other pharmaceutical companies in Illinois federal court. Attorneys for Calvillo said the impact of her wrongful death lawsuit would be diluted if it were in the pool of other cases and that Judge Stanton was correct in her motion to give their client a chance to go before a California state jury.
Calvillo and other lawsuits waged at manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapies allege that the hormone caused men to suffer heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis and other cardiovascular problems, some of which resulted in death.