A month after an Illinois federal jury awarded a man $3.2 million over claims AbbVie Inc.’s testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel gave him a heart attack, the drug company asked the federal court to overturn the verdict or at the very least grant a new trial, arguing the jury’s finding that the company was negligent was inconsistent with its finding against strict liability and fraudulent misrepresentation.
Plaintiff Jesse Mitchell sued AbbVie alleging that studies linked use of testosterone replacement therapies to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, but the company failed to adequately warn doctors or patients of this risk. Mitchell’s first trial resulted in $150 million in punitive damages for Mitchell’s claims of strict liability and negligence. But the jury awarded no compensatory damages. A new trial was ordered after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found that jurors were likely confused about how causation fit into each of Mitchell’s claims.
The second trial was held in March with an Illinois federal jury awarding Mitchell $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. AbbVie is fighting to reduce the damages award or to have the verdict overturned.
Mitchell had argued that AbbVie promoted AndroGel to men with age-related hypogonadism, or low levels of testosterone that occurs naturally as a man ages – a condition for which the medication is not approved. Testosterone replacement therapies are intended for men who have low levels of the hormone due to a defect or disease.
Mitchell’s case is one of thousands of cases consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois accusing numerous testosterone manufacturers of failing to warn men that their products could cause serious injuries.