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Testosterone Lawsuits Continue to Grow

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Chicago, ILThe number of testosterone lawsuits added to a multidistrict litigation concerning testosterone side effects continues to grow, with more than 2,400 lawsuits currently sitting in the MDL. Testosterone lawsuits allege men suffered serious side effects from using testosterone therapy.

According to court documents, as of September 15, 2015, there were 2,477 lawsuits sitting in MDL 2545 (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation) before US District Judge Matthew Kennelly. The lawsuits allege men were not adequately warned about the risks associated with using testosterone therapy. Those risks allegedly include an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

As of June 15, there were 1,768 lawsuits in the MDL, meaning there has been an increase of almost 700 lawsuits in three months. Lawsuits are consolidated for pretrial proceedings based on similar questions of fact. Their inclusion in the MDL is not a comment on their merits, but is a sign that more lawsuits are still being filed against the makers of testosterone treatments.

Some plaintiffs also allege that the condition being treated by testosterone therapy - “Low T” - is not an actual condition but simply a natural part of aging. In other words, plaintiffs allege marketing of testosterone therapy persuaded men who had no health issue other than natural aging that they had a condition that required treatment.

According to the Chicago Tribune (9/21/15), testosterone therapy has made $2 billion a year for companies that make and market testosterone drugs.

Testosterone therapy is not approved to treat “Low T,” and the FDA has stated that the safety of testosterone to treat “Low T” has not been established. Some studies have found an increased risk of serious health problems linked to testosterone replacement therapy, while other studies have not found such a risk. As a result, the FDA has asked testosterone manufacturers to conduct a trial to determine the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who use testosterone therapy.

Testosterone replacement therapy is approved to treat hypogonadism and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, which are linked to low levels of testosterone. Although it is illegal for companies to market drugs for off-label uses, it is legal for doctors to prescribe medications to treat conditions they are not approved for.

Plaintiffs allege the makers of testosterone therapies either knew or should have known about the risks associated with testosterone treatment. Among companies named in the lawsuits are AbbVie, Inc - maker of AndroGel - and Abbott Laboratories Inc. Bellwether cases in the testosterone MDL are expected to go to court in 2016.

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