The $150 million verdict awarded in the first bellwether trial alleging AbbVie Inc., fraudulently misrepresented its testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel was tossed out by an Illinois federal judge last week and a new trial ordered. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said the jury’s verdict was “internally inconsistent” because jurors awarded punitive damages based on the misrepresentation claim, but did not award compensatory damages because they did not find the drug company liable for the plaintiff’s injury.
“Of course, it would violate the precepts of logic to assert simultaneously that a party has been damaged and not been damaged,” Judge Kennelly said.
The verdict came in the case of Jesse Mitchell, who sued AbbVie alleging the testosterone treatment caused him to suffer a heart attack. Mitchell claimed that AbbVie heavily marketed AndroGel for a contrived condition, Low T, and that using the product would ease symptoms of Low T such as low libido, muscle loss, weight gain and mood swings.
The three-week trial ended with the jury finding that Mitchell’s heart attacks were not caused by AndroGel, but the drug company fraudulently misrepresented the drug by promoting it for a condition for which it was never approved. Testosterone replacement therapies are only approved to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which men do not produce enough testosterone due to injury, defect or disease. It has not been found to be safe or effective as a treatment for age-related drops in testosterone.
Mitchell’s case is one of thousands filed against manufacturers of testosterone treatments consolidated in an Illinois-based multi district litigation (MDL). A second bellwether jury awarded another man $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages for negligence, intentional misrepresentation, and misrepresentation by concealment.