Testosterone Lawyers Set to Argue Over MDL Consolidation
Attorneys involved in the federal testosterone lawsuits are set to go before the U.S Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) today, which will decide whether all cases involving injuries associated with the popular “low T” drugs will be centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings, or whether the litigation will be limited just to AndroGel lawsuits.
There are currently more than 100 product liability lawsuits filed in nearly a dozen different U.S. District Courts nationwide involving allegations that side effects of testosterone drugs caused men to suffer heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and other serious injuries.
While most of the complaints have been filed over problems associated with the use of AndroGel, which is the most widely used testosterone treatment, many of the lawsuits have been filed against the makers of competing low T drugs, including Axiron, Testim, AndroDerm, Depo-Testosterone and others.
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The U.S. JPML is scheduled to hear oral arguments today in Chicago on a number of competing proposals about how the federal litigation should be organized to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
A motion was originally filed in late March, seeking to establish a centralized multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Illinois for all lawsuits filed against AbbVie involving their AndroGel treatment.
Since that time, additional proposals have been submitted calling for all low T drug lawsuits to be centralized as part of the same proceeding and for only cases involving testosterone gels to be included.
Testosterone Heart Concerns
All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that the different manufacturers of testosterone drugs withheld important safety information from consumers and the medical community, failing to adequately warn about the risk of men suffering cardiovascular problems.
In complex pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of complaints are filed over the same or similar medications, it is common for the cases to be centralized before one judge as part of an MDL during pretrial proceedings and a series of early “bellwether” trials designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation.
The complaints come following a series of studies published in recent months that identified a link between testosterone drugs and heart attacks.
In November 2013, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested side effects of testosterone may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death among older men with certain pre-existing heart problems.
This research was followed by a study published by the medical journal PLOSOne in January 2014, 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.
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.
As testosterone injury lawyers continue to review and file new lawsuits for men throughout the United States, it is ultimately expected that several thousand complaints will be filed in state and federal courts nationwide.
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