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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal Heart Attack on AndroGel, Axiron

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The son of a Delaware man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the makers of AndroGel and Axiron, alleging that side effects of the low T drugs caused a fatal heart attack.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Richard Sean Ott in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking damages from AbbVie Inc., Abbott Laboratories, and Eli Lilly and Company.

According to claims raised in the testosterone lawsuit, Ott’s father, Richard Bodwell Ott, died on April 17, 2012 after suffering a heart attack. Ott indicates that his father was 58 years old when he was first prescribed Androgel in October 2011, and that he had no prior history of heart disease. Ott took the AbbVie drug until January 2012, after which he was prescribed Abbott and Lilly’s Axiron testosterone gel, which he took from April 2, 2012 until his death.

The lawsuit alleges that Ott was enticed to seek testosterone drugs after seeing advertisements for low T treatments. The complaint alleges that the drug makers made false and misleading statements that AndroGel and Axiron were safe and effective ways to raise testosterone levels, yet they actually increased Ott’s risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.

The case joins a growing number of Androgel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits and other low T drug lawsuits filed in recent months on behalf of men throughout the United States who allege the medications increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and death.

Testosterone Litigation

The litigation has come after a series of studies published in recent months that highlight the link between testosterone and cardiovascular risks.

In November 2013, a study published in JAMA suggested that side effects of low T drugs may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death among older men with certain pre-existing heart problems.

That research was followed by a study published in the medical journal PLOSOne in January 2014, which found that low T treatments may double the risk of heart attack for younger men with heart disease and men over the age of 65, regardless of their prior heart conditions.

In response to the findings, the FDA launched a safety review of all testosterone replacement therapy on January 31, leading to multiple media reports about the potential risk and lawyers advertising for potential claims.

Most of the lawsuits filed to date have involved injuries associated with the use of AndroGel, which is a testosterone gel spray manufactured and sold by AbbVie. However, a growing number of other cases are being filed by men who suffered injuries following use Axiron and other testosterone products, including Testim, Foresta, AndroDerm and others.

In late March, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to centralize all AndroGel lawsuits before one U.S. District Judge, as part of an MDL or Multidistrict Litigation. However, earlier this month, a second motion was filed calling for all testosterone drug lawsuits to be centralized as part of one consolidated proceeding during pretrial litigation, to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), which oversees MDL consolidations, has set a hearing to listen to oral arguments over the AndroGel consolidation motion for May 29.

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