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Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline have reportedly reached an agreement to settle all Testim lawsuits, potentially resolving more than 1,300 cases brought on behalf of men who suffered injuries after using the testosterone replacement therapy.
The cases are part of a massive litigation involving more than 6,000 complaints brought against various drug makers for failing to warn users and the medical community about the potential side effects of testosterone treatments, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, blood clots and other life-threatening health problems.
Given similar questions of fact and law presented in lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system. the testosterone litigation is centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
In a case management order (PDF) issued on February 23, Judge Kennelly indicated that the parties have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a global Testim settlement, which would resolve all filed cases.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings before Judge Kennelly, a series of early trial dates have been scheduled against each of the drug makers involved in the litigation, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the cases.
Due to the settlement, the Court directed that all proceedings involving cases against Endo, Auxilium and GSK will be stayed for 45 days, so that the parties can devote their efforts to finalizing a Master Settlement Agreement. As a result, pending bellwether trial dates scheduled for April 6 and September 10 were vacated.
Auxilium developed Testim gel in 2002, for treatment among men with a deficiency or absence of testosterone, and entered into a co-marketing agreement for the drug with GlaxoSmithKline in 2012. Endo Pharmaceuticals completed an acquisition of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals in January 2015, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.
The agreement to resolve all Testim cases comes on the heels of a recent Axiron settlement reached by Eli Lilly to resolve all lawsuits involving their competing testosterone gel. However, the terms of neither deal have been disclosed yet.
While the two global testosterone settlements are expected to resolve about one-third of the pending litigation, no agreements have been reported involving Androgel lawsuits, which involve claims against AbbVie for injuries associated with their market-leading testosterone gel product.
AbbVie has already been hit with several massive jury awards in early bellwether trials, including $150 million in punitive damages in July 2017 and a verdict of $140 million in a second case in October 2017. However, the award in the first case was overturned during post-trial motions, and retrial is set for next month.
Judge Kennelly has indicated that the Court reserves the right to set different cases against AbbVie or other drug makers for trial during the scheduled dates vacated as a result of the Testim settlement, potentially increasing the pressure to reach Androgel settlements in the coming months.