Days before Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., was scheduled to go to court over claims that its testosterone replacement therapy Testim caused an Alabama man to suffer a stroke, the drug company announced it had settled with the plaintiff, the terms of which have not been disclosed.
The lawsuit was brought by Robert Hoehl and his wife Kathleen, and the trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 8. At one point, the case was positioned as the lead in a proposed mass tort over testosterone side effects.
Hoehl sued Auxilium in 2014 alleging that in October 2011, at the age of 62, he was prescribed Testim to treat fatigue and erectile dysfunction related to low testosterone. But in July 2012, he suffered a stroke, which he believes was caused by the testosterone gel. He charged that Auxilium did not adequately warn users or doctors that use of Testim increased the risk of cardiovascular events including heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and death.
Last month, Auxilium asked Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mary Collins to throw out Hoehl’s case, citing federal preemption as grounds for summary judgment. Judge Collins refused, but did side with Auxilium’s request to reject a claim under the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act in which litigants are prohibited from bringing claims under state law if they are also pursuing common law fraud claims.
Hoehl was the first of 28 men to file a testosterone side effects case in Philadelphia. Several makers of testosterone treatments were named, including Auxilium, AbbVie, and Endo Pharmaceuticals. A bid for consolidating the cases into a mass tort program was denied in February 2016. Despite that ruling, Judge John M. Younge identified 27 other testosterone cases that would be considered in a status hearing, and suggested that the parties would select bellwether cases at that time.
No settlements were indicated in the other cases pending in Philadelphia.