A new trial began last week in the case of a man who won a $150 million verdict against Abbvie Inc., after arguing that the company’s testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel caused his heart attack.
Plaintiff Jesse Mitchell claims he didn’t know that using the topical testosterone replacement therapy could put him at risk for heart attacks, strokes and blood clots because AbbVie failed to adequately warn consumers or health care professionals. His was the first case to go to trial among thousands in a multidistrict litigation naming several testosterone treatment makers.
The first trial ended with a jury award of $150 million in punitive damages for Mitchell’s claims of strict liability and negligence. But the jury awarded no compensatory damages, finding that AndroGel wasn’t the cause of his injury. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ended up vacating the first verdict and ordering a new trial after finding that jurors were likely confused about how causation fit into each of Mitchell’s claims.
Mitchell not only argued that AbbVie had failed to warn about cardiovascular risks associated with use of AndroGel, but also promoted the medication for off-label use, for the treatment of a made up condition called Low T. Testosterone replacement therapies like AndroGel are only approved to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which men’s bodies do not produce enough of the male hormone due to injury, defect or disease. Low T was described as an age-related drop in testosterone, leading to symptoms such as low libido, loss of muscle mass, and weight gain.