AbbVie isn’t the only testosterone treatment manufacturer facing heat in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleging the hormone treatment is linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and deaths. This week, the Illinois federal judge overseeing the MDL selected the first two cases that will go to trial against Eli Lilly and Co., according to Law360.
AbbVie faces the first bellwether trials in the MDL, with the latest ending in mistrial earlier this month after the lead plaintiff’s attorney fell ill. That case will be retried in September. AbbVie , maker of the top selling AndroGel, will strand trial in the first several bellwethers in the MDL consisting of about 6,000 cases, 4,200 of which target AbbVie.
Now U.S. District Judge Mathew F. Kennelly has selected two trials that will put Eli Lilly and its testosterone replacement therapy Axiron in the hot seat. Tracy Garner and John DeBroka Jr.’s cases alleging cardiovascular risks with Eli Lilly’s hormone therapy are scheduled for January and March 2018, respectively. Garner claims to have suffered a heart attack after using Axiron. DeBroka alleges he developed deep vein thrombosis.
Judge Kennelly said that expert discovery has yet to be completed in the two cases and summary judgment motions will have to be heard. He asked both parties to weigh in on which of the two cases should be heard first. Judge Kennelly also expressed his disappointment with the limited number of bellwethers selected from the pool of Eli Lilly cases.
“The court has also advised counsel of its concern regarding the fact that there appear to be only two representative cases left from the 16 originally designated as bellwether discover cases,” he said. “If one or both of these cases is disposed of before or during tiral by some means other than a jury verdict, the parties should expect the court to impose extremely expedited schedule for identifying, conducting discovery in, and trying replacement cases.”
Plaintiffs suing testosterone manufacturers allege the companies marketed the hormone off-label by targeting aging men in its direct-to-consumer advertising campaign, and for downplaying the cardiovascular risks associated with use.