Pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc. scored a win in Illinois state court over claims that the company’s testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel caused a man’s heart attack, according to Law360. The news come just weeks after an Oregon couple was awarded $150 million in a similar case involving AndroGel in an Illinois federal court.
James Couch sued AbbVie alleging the drug maker failed to warn him or his doctor that using AndroGel could cause cardiovascular risks including life-threatening heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Couch’s lawsuit is one of about 150 in Cook County, Illinois state court involving testosterone side effects. Couch claimed strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and willful and wanton conduct.
The federal trial was the first to reach a verdict in multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving about 7,000 cases consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois. The case was filed by Jesse Mitchell and his wife Kimberly, who claimed that AbbVie failed to warn of consumers about the cardiovascular risks with use of AndroGel, citing studies that showed men who used the male hormone replacement product were more likely to suffer heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. The couple also accused AbbVie of negligence, fraud and negligent misrepresentation regarding its aggressive advertising campaigns.
AbbVie used direct-to-consumer advertising and fabricated a condition called Low-T, and told men that AndroGel could curb symptoms of Low T, including low libido, weight gain, and moodiness. The marketing campaign translated into skyrocketing prescriptions for AndroGel. The Mitchells’ lawsuit claimed that AbbVie was promoting testosterone treatment for an off-label use, which is unlawful.
The jury sided with the Mitchells on the point that AbbVie had overstepped its bounds when marketing the testosterone replacement therapy, ordering the company to pay the couple $150 million in damages.
Abbvie is only approved to treat men with hypogonadism, a condition in which men do not produce enough of the male hormone due to injury, defect or disease.