AndroGel Testosterone Lawsuits Centralized in Northern District of Illinois

More than two dozen federal AndroGel lawsuits filed in Illinois will be centralized before one judge, since they all involve similar claims that plaintiffs suffered heart attacks, strokes and other injuries that were allegedly caused by side effects of the low testosterone treatment.

According to an order (PDF) issued by the Executive Committee in the Northern District of Illinois on March 14, at least 30 cases filed in that federal court will be assigned to U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly for consolidated pretrial proceedings.

In the “interest of efficient judicial administration for the cases,” all of the AndroGel testosterone lawsuits will be handled by one judge to avoid duplicative discovery in the cases, reduce the risk of conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

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While the process is similar to a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which centralizes cases filed throughout the federal court system, this order only applies to cases filed in the Northern District of Illinois.

AndroGel Complaints Continue to Mount Nationwide

In recent months, AbbVie has faced a growing number of product liability lawsuits over their popular low testosterone gel, with plaintiffs claiming that the drug maker withheld important information concerning the risk of heart problems from AndroGel.

In January 2014, a study was published in the medical journal PLOSOne, which found that low testosterone 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. The FDA investigation was announced just days later.

This research was a follow up to a November 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that suggested side effects of testosterone may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death among older men with certain pre-existing heart problems.

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

The complaints involve allegations that the manufacturers essentially created the “disease” of low testosterone among men, blaming everything from fatigue to grumpiness on “Low T.” However, originally, the testosterone drugs were approved by the FDA to treat medically discernable low testosterone levels caused by a medical condition, such as hypogonadism. The condition was at first estimated to affect only about a million men in the U.S., but now the pharmaceutical industry estimates a 20 million man market for testosterone drugs.

While most of the complaints filed to date involve the use of AndroGel, which is the most popular “Low T” treatment, product liability lawyers are also investigating potential Testim gel lawsuits, Axiron gel lawsuits, AndroDerm patch lawsuits and other testosterone replacement therapy lawsuits.

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