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In the third federal bellwether trial over the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, and the first case involving use of Testim gel, a federal jury has found that the drug manufacturer is not responsible for a heart attack suffered by a Tennessee man.
The case is part of a series of planned “bellwether” cases, designed to help gauge how juries may respond to similar evidence and testimony that will be presented throughout more than 6,000 other Testim lawsuits, Androgel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits and other claims brought by individuals who suffered a heart attack, stroke, blood clot or other injuries after using the controversial drugs.
The bellwether trials began over the summer against AbbVie, the makers of Androgel, which is the most widely used testosterone replacement therapy. Additional cases are scheduled in the coming months against Auxilium, the makers of Testim, and Eli Lilly, the makers of Axiron.
In July 2017, the first lawsuit to reach a jury resulted in a $150 million punitive damage award against the makers of Androgel, indicating that AbbVie should be punished for their reckless disregard for the safety of users of their testosterone drug.
Last month, a second Androgel trial ended in another massive verdict against AbbVie, with $140 million in compensatory and punitive damages awarded to one plaintiff.
The latest trial involved a lawsuit filed by Steve Holtsclaw, who claimed that he suffered a heart attack in 2014, due to the side effects of Testim. However, Auxilium argued at trial that Holtsclaw had a number of medical conditions that put him at risk of heart disease, and convinced the jury that he had not established that his heart attack was caused by Testim.
The next case is slated to begin on January 8, involving another complaint against AbbVie over the side effects of AndroGel. That will be followed by a case against Eli Lilly, the makers of Axiron, which is expected to begin on January 29.
Although the outcomes of these bellwether trials are not binding on other plaintiffs, they are being closely watched by parties involved, as they may influence eventual negotiations to reach testosterone injury settlements, which would avoid the need for thousands of individual cases to be set for trial in courts nationwide over the coming years.