April 10, 2015 — Within less than a year, over 1,340 angry men who say they were injured by testosterone products like AndroGel have filed lawsuits against manufacturers in federal court.
The litigation has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois since June 2014. On April 21, parties will meet to discuss the status of the discovery process. The first trial is set for fall of 2016.
Lawsuits accuse AbbVie of “disease mongering” — suggesting that low testosterone was a common condition and testosterone therapy could alleviate normal side effects of aging, such as sagging muscles, low libido, and depressed mood.
Forbes talked to an attorney for one man, who said it was nearly unprecedented for a drug-maker to boost sales by “inventing a fake disease.”
All of the lawsuits make similar claims against seven different makers of testosterone products. AbbVie, the drug-maker behind the blockbuster testosterone gel product AndroGel, blasted late-night TV airwaves with ads encouraging men to ask their doctor about “Low T.”
The problem is that the FDA has only approved testosterone for hypogonadism, a rare and serious hormonal deficiency caused by injuries, illness, chemotherapy, and missing testicles.
After several studies linked testosterone therapy with higher rates of heart attack, stroke, and death, many men who were injured accused AbbVie of putting corporate profits above public health, endangering their lives by aggressively marketing testosterone therapy.