The much-anticipated first bellwether trial against AbbVie Inc. over alleged adverse cardiovascular side effects with its testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel ended in a mistrial this week after the lead plaintiff’s attorney was hospitalized due to an illness, according to Law360.
The trial involved the case of Jeffrey Konrad, a Tennessee man who claims in 2010 he was lured to try testosterone therapy after watching advertisements promoting testosterone treatment for the so-called condition, Low T. The ads assured him that AndroGel could improve Low-T symptoms such as low sex drive, weight gain and depressed mood.
Konrad asked his doctor to prescribe him the male hormone. Sixty-five days later, Konrad suffered a heart attack. He claims studies dating back decades show that testosterone replacement therapy could increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and death, yet AbbVie failed to warn his doctor or him of these life threatening testosterone side effects.
Court transcripts confirmed that the plaintiff’s lead attorney was admitted to the hospital over the weekend due to heart problems and underwent a procedure. His partner said the condition wasn’t life threatening and that the lead attorney is now resting at home. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly decided against a few days delay in the trial while the plaintiff’s lead attorney recovers.
The defense argued against a mistrial, but Judge Kennelly said that he wouldn’t try the case without the lead attorney. “If the lead counsel is out of the picture, then adjustments are going to be made.” The Konrad trial is expected to be picked back up again in September.
Manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapies, including AbbVie, face about 4,200 cases that have been centralized before Judge Kennelly. The lawsuits claim the drug makers did not adequately warn of testosterone side effects, and for pushing the drug off-label for the allegedly made up condition Low T. Other testosterone manufacturers facing lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation include Eli Lilly and Co. and Endo Pharmaceuticals.