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Auxilium Pharmaceuticals has reportedly agreed to settle a lawsuit over its Testim testosterone gel, resolving a claim that was slated to go to trial next week in Pennsylvania state court.
The agreement was reached just days before trial was to begin in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, according to a report by Law360. However, terms of the Testim gel settlement have not been disclosed.
The announcement comes just a couple weeks after Eli Lilly reportedly reached a testosterone drug settlement to resolve all Axiron claims, itself avoiding bellwether trials set to begin this month in the federal court system. However, it is unclear whether Auxilium is near to settling additional Testim claims, or whether the settlement is limited to the facts of this one case.
For the past several years, the two drug manufacturers, as well as AbbVie, the makers of AndroGel, have been part of nationwide litigation over the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy. Most of the cases have been filed in federal cases, which involve more than 6,000 Androgel lawsuits, Testim lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits and other claims against the makers of similar medications.
Given common questions of fact and law raised by each plaintiff, the claims have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois for coordinated discovery and management, as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).
As part of the consolidated management of the claims, Judge Kennelly has scheduled a series of early trial dates against each manufacturer, known as bellwether claims, since they are designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the cases. However, a number of other claims have been filed in state courts, including Pennsylvania, where Monday’s Testim trial was scheduled to begin.
In federal courts, the first two Androgel trials against AbbVie resulted in massive jury awards for plaintiffs, including an award of $150 million in punitive damages in July 2017 and a verdict of $140 million in a second case in October 2017. The $150 million verdict was vacated during post-trial motions, and the case is set for a new trial in March.
If additional testosterone injury settlements are not reached by drug makers following bellwether trials, it is expected that large waves of cases will be prepared for trial, and federal cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for simultaneous proceedings following the conclusion of all common discovery and pretrial proceedings in the MDL.