Verdict: AbbVie, Makers of AndroGel, Ordered to Pay $3.2 Million in Retrial

An Illinois jury on Monday ordered AbbVie Inc. to pay $3.2 million in a retrial after the company’s AndroGel product caused an Oregon man’s heart attack. AndroGel is a testosterone-based gel medication most often used in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The original verdict, reached in July 2017, netted $150 million, but was tossed out by the U.S. District Judge as “logically incompatible.  The latest came after a more than two-week bellwether trial in federal court in Chicago.

AbbVie ‘Disappointed’ in AndroGel Lawsuits

According to the Oregon plaintiff’s lawsuit, AbbVie fraudulently misrepresented AndroGel as a safe and effective remedy for “low testosterone.” Rather, he alleged, his five years of treatment led to a heart attack in 2012.

This was the second trial over claims by the plaintiff after a December trial tossed his $150 million verdict (in part because it was only for punitive damages). In February, the judge ordered that all claims be retried. This trial awarded the plaintiff $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages.

It was also the second plaintiff’s verdict in consolidated lawsuits against AbbVie for AndroGel. In October, a jury ordered the company to pay more than $140 million to a Tennessee man who claimed the drug caused his heart attack. AbbVie sought to throw out the case over inconsistencies in the trial, and its response to Monday’s verdict was equally non-cooperative.

“We are disappointed with today’s verdict, and we intend to appeal,” said AbbVie spokeswoman Toni Haubert.

AndroGel ‘Aggressively’ Marketed to Treat Non-Recognized Disease

The jury’s decision was unfortunately not unique, considering AbbVie has been found guilty of misrepresenting its products before.

October’s verdict was based largely on AbbVie’s intentional and “aggressive” false advertising, failure to test the product adequately before going to market and failure to clearly convey the possible health hazards associated with AndroGel to physicians and patients.

AbbVie lawsuits highlight that AndroGel hasn’t been approved by the FDA to treat low testosterone, which, incidentally, isn’t even a medically recognized condition. Experts assure us that low testosterone is normal as men age and doesn’t necessarily need treatment. AbbVie pushed an awareness campaign to convince men otherwise, in a profit-driven effort to capitalize on men’s natural aging process.

Trent Miracle, a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and co-lead in the plaintiff’s counsel, hopes the verdict will send AbbVie a “strong and damning message.”

“It’s impossible to view the evidence and listen to the testimony in these cases and not come to the conclusion that AbbVie put their corporate and financial interest ahead of the health and well-being of the men duped into using their product.”

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