Initial Status Conference Scheduled in Testosterone MDL
The U.S. District Judge appointed to preside over all federal testosterone lawsuits has scheduled an initial status conference for early next month, at which time the parties will begin to lay the ground work for how the growing litigaiton will proceed.
On June 6, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) determined that all Androgel lawsuits, Testim lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits, Androgel lawsuits and other cases involving injuries associated with testosterone replacement therapy will be centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the Eastern District of Illinois for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
The cases will all be included in one federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), regardless of the specific product or drug makers involved in the case. Centralized management for the cases was set up to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
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According to the first case management order (PDF) issued by Judge Kennelly, an initial status conference will be held on July 10. Until that time, all discovery and pending motions in the testosterone injury cases has been stayed.
Prior to the establishment of the nationwide testosterone MDL, Judge Kennelly was already presiding over several dozen lawsuits over AndroGel, the most widely used low testosterone drug. However, it is expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional cases filed nationwide will soon be transferred into the MDL for coordinated handling.
Judge Kennelly has ordered all attorneys involved in the litigation to familiarize themselves with federal procedures on complex litigation and to be prepared to put forward procedures that will help move the litigation forward in a fair, rapid, and inexpensive way.
Testosterone Heart Concerns
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that side effects of testosterone drugs caused plaintiffs to suffer heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and other cardiovascular injuries.
Most of the lawsuits have been filed in the wake of an FDA announcement issued on January 31, which indicated that the agency was reviewing the cardiovascular risks among men taking any approved testosterone drugs.
The FDA investigation was launched following several studies published in recent months involving the link between low 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.
As part of the coordinated proceedings before Judge Kennelly, it is expected that a small number of cases will be selected as “bellwether” lawsuits, which will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcome of these early trials would not be binding on other cases, they may influence eventual testosterone settlement negotiations.
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