The first lawsuits are being filed against drug companies who marketed testosterone therapy. Lawyers for five men who took Androgel are suing its maker, Abbott Laboratories, in Chicago federal court. The suit also names AbbVie, Inc., a company that Abbott spun off last year.
The plaintiffs are men who are from 50 to 63 years old. After beginning a course of AndroGel therapy, three of the men had heart attacks, one had a stroke, and one had a mini-stroke.
The complaints allege that Abbott and AbbVie “deceived potential AndroGel users by relaying positive information through the press, including testimonials from retired professional athletes” and using statistics suggesting a need for the drugs, “while downplaying known adverse and serious health risks.”
The suit also alleges that the makers concealed knowledge that AndroGel had a “serious propensity” to cause harm.
Chicago Business.com has reported a response from AbbVie. The site writes that David Freundel, a spokesman for North Chicago, Illinois-based AbbVie, said in an e-mailed statement that “known risks are ‘well documented’ on the prescribing label.”
The lawsuits came just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into the risks of testosterone therapy. The FDA was reacting to recent medical studies finding that men who take testosterone therapy face an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death.
Bloomberg News reports that, “The court documents argue that the defendants engaged in ‘disease mongering’ by linking a variety of symptoms to low testosterone (“Low T”) – including listlessness, moodiness, and increased body fat – when those symptoms could be caused by a variety of things, including natural aging. The lawsuit notes that AndroGel’s sales increased to more than $1.37 billion per year due to the marketing campaign.”
The lawsuit also claims that, “Defendants coordinated a massive advertising campaign designed to convince men that they suffered from low testosterone.” The plaintiffs argue that the advertising campaign lead to a situation where one-fourth of men who are prescribed testosterone did not have their testosterone levels actually tested prior to receiving their prescription.
Men residing in Kentucky, who believe they may have had a heart attack or stroke from a testosterone-related product, should contact a Kentucky testosterone attorney to protect any rights they may have.