Endo Pharmaceuticals and its unit Auxilium Pharmaceuticals LLC filed a motion to compel compliance against UnitedHealthcare (UHC) in an Illinois federal court, arguing that the insurance company should hand over subpoenaed information about its dealings with testosterone replacement therapies if it wants to be part of a proposed class of insurers and third-party payors accusing testosterone manufacturers of fraudulently marketing the drugs.
UHC isn’t a party in the litigation but is the largest member of the proposed class, making its information key to Endo and Auxilium, which are fighting against certification. But UHC has been avoiding calls, not returning messages, and has yet to answer the subpoena, the drug companies claim.
Medical Mutual of Ohio filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act suit against GlaxoSmithKline, Actavis PLC, AbbVie Inc., Auxilium, Eli Lilly & Co., and Endo as part of a larger multidistrict litigation (MDL) claiming the drug companies illegally promoted their testosterone treatments for off-label uses. In 2016, the court dismissed the RICO claims against GlaxoSmithKline and Actavis.
Both Endo and AbbVie have sent subpoenas to OptumRx, UHC’s pharmacy benefit management group. OptumRx responded to Endo’s laundry list of requests with some objections including that there was not enough time to pull all the requested information together and that certain documents would be hard and expensive to find. Endo said that it reached out to the company to discuss the requests but UHC appeared to be avoiding their calls.
The proposed class action lawsuit seeks hundreds of millions of dollars over fraudulent marketing claims, but it isn’t the only pricey litigation testosterone companies face. More than 6,000 lawsuits consolidated in a multi district litigation in Illinois federal court are waged against testosterone manufacturers. Those lawsuits allege testosterone treatment causes blood clots, heart attacks and stroke.
The first trial to reach a verdict involved AbbVie’s AndroGel and resulted in $150 million award for the plaintiff. The jury did not find that the hormone therapy caused the man’s heart attack but they did find that AbbVie was liable for misleading advertising for promoting AndroGel for a made-up condition called Low T.