Testosterone Lawyers to Meet with MDL Judge to Review Discovery Plan
Attorneys involved in the federal testosterone drug lawsuits are scheduled to meet with the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation tomorrow to discuss the pretrial management of the proceedings, including discovery and coordination with cases pending in various state courts nationwide.
In June, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized all testosterone cases filed in federal district courts throughout the country before U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the Eastern District of Illinois, as part of an MDL, or multi-district litigation.
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, such as AndroGel, Testim, Axiron, Androderm or other treatments, caused men to suffer a heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism or other serious injury.
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The cases have been centralized for coordinated proceedings, regardless of which specific testosterone drug or manufacturers is involved in the case, to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts.
Earlier this month, Judge Kennelly appointed a group of 33 testosterone lawyers to serve in leadership roles in the litigation, taking certain actions during the MDL proceedings that will benefit all plaintiffs involved in the lawsuits.
The first case management conference since the establishment of the leadership group is set for Friday, August 22 at 10:30 a.m.
According to a joint agenda (PDF) submitted this weeks by plaintiffs lawyers and attorneys representing testosterone drug makers, it is expected that the court will review any discovery issues involving the early exchange of information between the parties.
Additional status reports were filed by the parties concerning on-going discussions regarding proposed case management orders for initial discovery and preservation
Testosterone Drug Lawsuits
There are currently only about 200 cases centralized before Judge Kennelly in the MDL. However, as testosterone injury lawyers continue to review and file additional complaints over the coming months and years, it is ultimately expected that several thousand lawsuits will be included in the litigation.
Most of the cases are Androgel lawsuits against AbbVie, as their product is the most widely used testosterone replacement therapy on the market. However, other complaints have been filed against the makers of Axiron, Testim, Androderm, Depo-testosterone and other products.
The litigation has emerged over the past nine months, following a series of studies published and an FDA announcement in January 2014, which indicated that the agency is reviewing the cardiovascular risks among men taking any approved testosterone drugs.
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.
The FDA is convening an advisory panel next week to review evidence concerning the link between testosterone drugs and heart attacks, which will make recommendations about any regulatory actions that should be taken to protect consumers.
As part of the testosterone MDL, it is expected that Judge Kennelly will eventually select a small number of cases to serve as “bellwether” lawsuits to be prepared for early trial dates. While the outcomes of these cases are not binding in other lawsuits, they are typically used to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation. The process may also influence eventual testosterone settlement negotiations with the various manufacturers.
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