An Indiana woman, on behalf of her deceased husband, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturers of AndroGel—AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania on January 20, 2016.
The woman claims that after taking the testosterone replacement drug, her husband died of serious side effects. She seeks in excess of $150,000 in damages.
Plaintiff Claims AndroGel Caused her Husband’s Death
According to her complaint, the decedent was about 55 years old when he was prescribed and started using AndroGel for symptoms he attributed to low testosterone. He saw his doctor on August 19, 2010, and was diagnosed with hypogonadism, which is a medical condition resulting in low testosterone levels. His doctor prescribed AndroGel for the treatment of this condition—a use for which the drug was approved by the FDA in 2000.
The plaintiff states that neither her husband nor his doctor could be expected to have been aware of the risks for heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism at the time, because the defendants did not disclose them. As a result, the decedent was unable to learn “of the true risks associated with the use of AndroGel.”
About four years later, on January 20, 2014, the decedent suffered from cardiac arrest, which led to his death. The plaintiff alleges AndroGel, and states that it resulted in pain and suffering, financial loss, and permanent injury to both herself and her husband.
Defendants Aggressively Marketed AndroGel without Stating Risks
The plaintiff asserts that the defendants organized a massive marketing campaign in which they suggested that various symptoms often associated with general aging or other conditions could be caused by low testosterone, and that men should talk to their doctors about a prescription. Some of these “symptoms” included increased body fat, moodiness, and listlessness, which all can occur because of weight gain or lifestyle choices.
As a result of this aggressive advertising, sales of testosterone replacement drugs more than doubled since 2006, with forecasts indicating a potential tripling by 2017. Yet several studies have linked these drugs to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, including one in 2010 that was discontinued because a high number of men suffered adverse events.
A later 2013 study found that testosterone therapy increased the risk of cardiovascular events by about 30 percent, and a 2014 study found that it doubled the risk of heart attacks in men over the age of 65, and in men younger than that who had a history of heart disease.
The defendants failed to add new warnings to their products, leaving men at risk for blood clotting injuries, even after these studies were published.
Plaintiff Seeks Compensatory and Punitive Damages
The plaintiff in this case brings counts of inadequate warning, fraud, violation of Indiana’s consumer sales act, and wrongful death. She seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, based upon defendants’ wrongful conduct.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.