Days after Auxilium Inc., settled a lawsuit over claims its testosterone treatment caused an Alabama man to suffer a stroke, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge scheduled 17 testosterone side effects trials involving multiple testosterone makers to take place between June and January 2019. The Auxilium trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 8, and was filed in 2014.
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge had planned to schedule seven bellwethers during that timeframe, paving the way for a settlement of the nearly 30 cases pending in the court. But instead of making good on a previous threat to start calling cases next week and hold trials every week through the end of the year, he agreed to schedule an additional 10 cases beginning in September through January 2019. He added that “the 2014 cases are supposed to be over by now.”
The lawsuits name Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Auxilium, AbbVie Inc., and GlaxoSmithKline LLC., and allege the companies did not adequately warn that testosterone replacement therapies could increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and death.
In 2016, attorneys for both the plaintiffs and defendants pressed the court to create a mass tort program in Philadelphia, but another judge nixed the request. That action compromised what the court could do to accommodate the cases, Judge Younge told the attorneys.
In November, Judge Younge emphasized to attorneys on both sides that the first seven cases chosen should be viewed as bellwethers. But neither wanted to turn their backs on the other cases.
As a result, the first seven cases were scheduled to begin in June and run monthly, with the exception of December. Another 10 cases were filed in 2014 and 2015 for September through January, with the exception of December. Nine cases filed in 2016 will be overseen by Judge Denis Cohen and scheduled for trial in December 2018.
An additional 6,000 cases are pending in a multidistrict litigation consolidated in Illinois federal court.