An Illinois federal jury slapped AbbVie Inc., with a $140 million verdict in the case of a man who sued the company alleging that it did not adequately test its testosterone treatment AndroGel to determine if it caused an increased cardiovascular risk and for misrepresenting the drug’s safety in treating an alleged off-label usage.
The verdict was handed down 13 days after the trial began, with just under two days of deliberation. Plaintiff Jeffrey Konrad was awarded $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages.
Konrad filed a lawsuit against AbbVie after suffering a heart attack while taking AndroGel. He argued that AbbVie was aware of studies that showed testosterone replacement therapy was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, some of which could be fatal.
He also accused AbbVie of aggressively marketing the drug for so-called Low T, and claiming that AndroGel could help treat Low T symptoms such as low libido, weight gain, mood swings and muscle loss. Testosterone replacement therapy is only indicated for men with low levels of testosterone due to injury, defect or disease. It is not intended for men with a natural age-related drop in testosterone.
Doctors have the authority to write prescriptions for conditions that are not listed on the drug’s label, but drug companies cannot market medications for off-label use.
Konrad’s case was the second bellwether in a multidistrict litigation accusing testosterone manufacturers of not adequately warning doctors or consumers of testosterone side effects. A jury in the first trial found that AndroGel did not cause Jesse Mitchell’s heart attack, but did take issue with AbbVie’s misrepresentations in marketing the drug and slapped AbbVie with $150 million in punitive damages.