U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly dissed almost all the arguments AbbVie and Abbott Laboratories made for a summary judgment before the first of seven bellwether trials involving cardiovascular risks with the testosterone replacement treatment AndroGel begins, Law360 reported. The drug companies face more than 7,000 lawsuits in a sprawling multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving several different manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapies.
As the maker of the top selling AndroGel, AbbVie will sit in the hot seat for all seven of the selected bellwethers. The first trial is set to begin in June.
Plaintiffs suing AbbVie and other testosterone treatment manufacturers allege the drug companies marketed their products to consumers knowing it could lead to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Those suing AbbVie also claim that the drug company concocted a condition called Low T to lure men who did not need the treatment to ask for it by name by promoting it as a cure for low libido, muscle loss and weight gain.
Testosterone replacement therapy is intended for men with hypogonadism, a condition in which the body does not produce enough of the male hormone. It is not intended for natural age-related hypogonadism.
AbbVie and other testosterone makers enjoyed skyrocketing sales of their supplemental hormone treatment. But studies revealed that use of the drugs could increase the risk for potentially fatal heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.
AbbVie may have tried to skirt the claims, but Judge Kennelly dismissed the request, writing, “A reasonable jury could infer that AbbVie reasonably should have known that there was a possible association between TRT drugs and increased cardiovascular risk and that it needed to perform additional safety testing. The court therefore denies AbbVie’s motion for summary judgment on claims brought by plaintiffs who experienced cardiovascular injuries to the extent they are based on whether AbbVie knew or should have known of an increased risk.”