June 6, 2014 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ordered (PDF) that 45 lawsuits involving testosterone replacement products, such as AndroGel, will be centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
The panel of federal judges selected the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly presides. There are already 15 actions pending in this court. Chicago, Illinois is also the headquarters of AbbVie, Inc., and Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturers of AndroGel.
Although it is unusual for the JPML to centralize lawsuits on an industry-wide scale, the judges believe it is appropriate because all of the actions involve similar factual allegations. They were also concerned about complex procedural issues because many men have used multiple testosterone replacement products.
All of the lawsuits were filed after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Safety Communication in January announcing they were “investigating the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death in men taking FDA-approved testosterone products.”
According to the JPML:
“All actions involve plaintiffs (or their survivors) who used one or more testosterone replacement therapies and contend that their (or their decedent’s) use of the drugs caused their injuries, which include heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys suggest that thousands of lawsuits may be filed. These cases could involve a variety of products, including:
- Androgel (AbbVie Inc.) – Topical gel applied to skin
- Androderm (Actavis) – Patch
- Axiron (Lilly USA, LLC) – Underarm liquid/cream
- Aveed (Endo Pharmaceuticals) – Intramuscular injection of testosterone and castor oil
- Bio-T-Gel (Teva Pharmaceuticals) – Topical gel applied to skin
- Delatestryl (Endo Pharmaceuticals) – Injection
- Depo-Testosterone (Unigen Life Sciences) – Injection
- Fortesta (Endo Pharmaceuticlas) – Topical gel applied to skin
- Natesto (Trimel Pharmaceuticals) – Nasal spray
- Striant (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals) – Buccal tablet absorbed through gums
- Testim (Auxilum Pharmaceuticals) – Topical gel applied to skin
- Testopel (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals) – Subcutaneous pellet