October 7, 2015 — With about 2,000 lawsuits filed by men injured by testosterone products like AndroGel, lawyers have been instructed to pick cases for six so-called “bellwether” trials to begin in October 2016.
Forbes reports that the selection of cases has been contentious, with AbbVie fighting to dismiss cases and get the court to choose which ones go to trial.
The cases will be categorized into two groups of side effects: venous blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and heart attacks. Lawyers have until October 31 to choose 16 cases in each category. With 32 candidates, six will be selected for trial.
AbbVie, maker of the most popular testosterone product, AndroGel, faces the most lawsuits and was chosen to face trial first. Trials against other drug-makers will not begin until mid-2017.
AbbVie was responsible for launching a controversial ad campaigned aimed at convincing middle-aged men to talk to their doctors about “Low T” if they experienced common ailments like fatigue, depression, or increased body fat. The campaign skirted laws banning “off-label” drug promotion and was wildly successful.
As off-label use of testosterone proliferated, the FDA has issued several warnings that testosterone is only approved for hypogonadism and it may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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