Low "T" Drugs
Low testosterone, also known as Low “T”, has become a popular medical condition in recent years. No doubt due to persuasive drug manufacturers’ advertisements, testosterone treatment has become a billion dollar industry with over 2 million patients being treated for Low "T" in the U.S. every year. There’s only one catch—doctors aren’t even sure if Low "T" is a bad thing, or if the therapy really benefits males in any appreciable way.
Testosterone is the male hormone that helps keep muscles and bones strong, and also helps maintain a healthy sex drive. When a man has low testosterone levels, it is caused by a medical condition called hypogonadism. Though the medical field is uncertain as to what may lead to hypogonadism, factors can include diabetes and obesity.
There are various treatment options for Low "T", but one of the most popular options is testosterone gel. To be more specific, AbbVie’s Androgel is one of the most used and marketed testosterone replacement therapy options at the moment. Unfortunately, the use of Androgel for testosterone therapy has been linked to heart attacks and strokes in some patients.
In 2014, the FDA issued a drug safety communication as a result of this discovery, in which they warned patients that there may be a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes in patients who use products like testosterone gels to help with their Low "T". The FDA also required the manufacturers of the testosterone products to put this warning on the labels of their products.
After the FDA issued this warning, lawsuits began to be filed against the manufacturers of testosterone products. Lawsuits filed against companies like AbbVie include allegations of wrongful death as well as allegations that AbbVie failed to warn patients of the risks of heart attacks or strokes while using testosterone products. Currently, there are over 2,000 lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The pending lawsuits will have 2 rounds of bellwether trials scheduled to be heard from 2016-2017. Bellwether trials allow the parties to test their arguments in order to facilitate a resolution to all of the pending cases. The first six bellwether trials are focused on Androgel and are scheduled about one per month starting in October 2016, and the second round of bellwether trials will cover all other low t products and will probably not be heard until late 2017.
At this point, more plaintiffs coming forward is a very real possibility, as is the possibility of a Low "T" settlement in the near future.