Saturday, August 15, 2015 - The total number of lawsuits filed in multidistrict litigation concerning complications stemming from testosterone supplements is nearing 2,000 after 500 were added to the MDL over the past two months. The manufacturers of the supplements, which are also referred to as testosterone therapies, include large pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly & Co. and Abbvie. The lawsuits, which are consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois federal court, have grown rapidly since their initial certification in June of 2014.
The medications in question, including Angrogel, Axiron and Testim concern low-t therapies. These prescribed drugs are intended to help treat men who are diagnosed with having low or diminishing testosterone levels. The plaintiffs filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of the low-t medications however claim that not only did the defendants fail to warn patients of the potential injuries that could be sustained from low-t therapies, but that the diagnosed problems of low testosterone that the treatments were prescribed to reverse are just natural developments in a man‘s aging process.
The serious side effects that came about with the prescribing of the testosterone drugs include serious heart and blood clot complications. Plaintiffs have claims that patients have suffered from heart attacks, stroke, and even death as a result of taking the testosterone supplements prescribed to them. The MDL began with less than 50 cases claiming such allegations, but that number has grown considerably in the 14 months since its consolidation.
The manufacturers of the drugs marketed them to physicians to treat a series of problems that arise as men age, including weight gain, poor energy levels and sex drive. The only condition the testosterone drugs were approved to treat was hypogonadism, an affliction most that received testosterone therapy did not suffer from. Instead, the plaintiffs claim that the drugs were advertised to combat a loss of testosterone due to aging with no warning of the serious side effects involved.
The American Medical Association has reported on those side effects and their effect of patients who underwent the testosterone therapies. Men who were prescribed the treatment that already had cardiovascular problems were put at a 30 percent greater risk of heart attacks and strokes as a result of the low-t therapy. Further studies discovered that the increased risk could occur within 90 days of taking the supplements. In response to these statistics, the FDA recommended by a 20-1 margin in 2014 that companies producing testosterone therapies further investigate the drugs for the serious complications they were linked to.
A joint status report in the multidistrict litigation was filed on July 17, detailing the requests from plaintiffs for the defendants to produce documents pertaining to their filings against the defendants. These include files connected to the marketing of the drug to physicians, which plaintiffs claim the defendants were conducted recklessly. Plaintiffs claim the marketing of the drugs without proper testing to physicians is connected to the failure to warn consumers of the side effects related to the testosterone therapies, as those physicians prescribed the drugs to patients that eventually developed serious side effects in response to the supplements. The first bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in 2016.