February 19, 2014 — A man from North Carolina has filed an AndroGel lawsuit against AbbVie, Inc., in federal court in Illinois. AbbVie is accused of failing to warn consumers and/or doctors that patients on AndroGel need to have hemocrit levels monitored to prevent heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, and other cardiovascular events.
The plaintiff, Roger Gibby, was 61 years old when he took AndroGel for symptoms attributed to low testosterone. Gibby alleges that he started using AndroGel after viewing advertisements sponsored by AbbVie encouraging older men to consider using testosterone replacement therapy for symptoms like low energy, depression, weight gain, and decreased sex drive.
In September 2013, Gibby developed blood clots in his legs (deep vein thrombosis) and the blood clots traveled to his lungs and caused a pulmonary embolism. He was hospitalized, prescribed blood-thinners, and incurred significant medical expenses. He had no prior history of significant cardiovascular problems.
Lawyers quoted doctors who accuse AbbVie of “disease mongering” — convincing men who are losing testosterone as a normal part of aging to consider hormone replacement therapy, a medical treatment with serious long-term side effects.
According to the complaint:
“AndroGel causes the hematocrit level to increase, thereby thickening the blood. … This effect, if not monitored and controlled properly, can lead to life threatening cardiac events, strokes and thrombolytic events (including pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and other blood clots).”
The lawsuit accuses AbbVie of deceiving patients by downplaying, understating, and outright ignoring health hazards associated with AndroGel. In addition, they are accuse of manipulating hypogonadism statistics to make it seem like low testosterone is widespread, while concealing known side effects.
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