You’ve seen the TV commercials featuring fit, handsome actors and voiceovers that go something like: “Are your energy and sex drive not what they used to be? You may have a condition known as ‘Low T.’ Ask your doctor about AndroGel.” “Low T” stands for low testosterone, and these commercials are targeted at men over 50 and promise to restore the vitality they enjoyed when they were over 20 years younger.
The problem is that the “condition” the makers of AndroGel call “Low T” may not even exist at all; the symptoms they promise to relieve may just be a natural part of the aging process. What’s worse, such testosterone therapy drugs may put men at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, according to the Food and Drug Administration and a flurry of federal lawsuits.
Studies Indicate Health Risks from Testosterone Therapy
AndroGel is a topical testosterone-replacement medication produced and marketed by Abbott Laboratories and its AbbVie Inc. subsidiary. The FDA recently announced that it is investigating a possible link between testosterone therapy and cardiovascular events, in the wake of two separate published studies suggesting such a link. The studies found increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and death among men over 65 who were prescribed testosterone therapy, as well as younger men with a history of cardiovascular disease, in some cases even double the risk.
The FDA insists that it does not recommend testosterone therapy in men who do not otherwise have an underlying medical condition that reduces testosterone, and that FDA-approved testosterone drugs are not designed to treat a natural, age-related decline in hormonal levels—which is the primary target market for AndroGel and similar products.
The dozens of lawsuits, filed earlier this year, allege that Abbott and AbbVie failed to warn patients and physicians of the cardiovascular risks of AndroGel despite knowing of them. The complaints accuse AbbVie of engineering a “massive advertising campaign” designed to convince men that the natural symptoms they were experiencing were caused by a medical condition (“Low T”) which the drugmaker essentially invented. The plaintiffs claim that they suffered blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks as a result of using AndroGel.
Multidistrict Litigation Sought by a Dozen Plaintiffs
At least 36 suits have been filed in Illinois, with additional cases pending in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Attorneys for plaintiffs in 13 of the lawsuits are seeking to have all the cases consolidated and transferred to federal court in Illinois for centralized management in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL is a procedure that centralizes multiple federal lawsuits in different jurisdictions before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings, for the purpose of judicial efficiency and avoiding duplicative legal work on the cases, conflicting pretrial rulings, and inconvenience to parties. The MDL petition filed by the plaintiffs seeks to have all AndroGel cases centralized before Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois, who is already presiding over about 30 AndroGel cases in Illinois.
If you have a history of cardiovascular disease or other medical condition, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of beginning or continuing new therapies such as AndroGel, especially those that are not approved by the FDA. If you believe that you have been harmed by testosterone replacement therapy, consult your doctor. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has a proven track record of fighting for the interests of clients injured by medical negligence, and is here to help you.
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