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Testosterone Heart Attack Lawsuit Filed by GA Couple

heart-attack patientA new testosterone therapy lawsuit has been filed by a Georgia couple over the heart attack suffered by the husband while he was taking Axiron, a testosterone replacement treatment produced by Eli Lilly. The complaint was filed by plaintiffs David T. Bowden and Judy Bowden of Polk County, GA on March 18, 2015.

According to the complaint, “Mr David T Bowden suffered an acute myocardial Infarction (heart attack) which has caused physical and emotional impairment, pain and suffering and financial loss, among other damages. Because of the injuries suffered by her husband, Mrs. Judy Bowden has experienced the loss of the company, society, cooperation, guidance, and companionship of her husband.” Mr. Bowden began using Axiron in 2002.

Testosterone heart attack lawsuit joins MDL

The lawsuit was filed directly as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2545, In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation) now taking place in Chicago under the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly.   The MDL was established in June of 2014 to consolidate all complaints concerning adverse side effects of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) products. The products in question include: AndroGel, Axiron, Fortesta, Delatestryl, Testim, Testopel, Striant, Depo-Testosterone, and Androderm.

Judge Kennelly issued a case management order in November of 2014 allowing lawsuits from all parts of the country to be filed directly as part of the Illinois MDL, using a short form complaint that references the more extensive master complaint. The complaint filed by the Bowdens adopts “all common allegations” contained in the long form complaint concerning TRT lawsuits.

The complaint lists strict liability, design defect, failure to warn, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied and express warranty, fraud, consumer protection, unjust enrichment, loss of consortium, punitive damages, and prayer for relief as causes of action. Eli Lilly and Co. and Lilly USA, LLC, manufacturers of Axiron, are listed as the defendants.

Low T supplements aggresively marketed

A central allegation in the master complaint is that testosterone products were marketed falsely as safe and effective treatments for “Low T,” a condition effectively “invented” by the pharmaceutical industry. Products such as Axiron were approved by the FDA for the treatment of a very particular condition called hypogonadism. They were, however, widely marketed to treat low testosterone (or “Low T”), which the industry suggested was much more widespread. The complaint goes on to assert that the symptoms listed as indicative of “Low T” in advertising are generally agreed by most doctors to be caused by many factors, including (chiefly) the natural aging process.

The complaint alleges that while there is little benefit that the drugs offer for the treatment of the condition of “Low T,” the TNT products can actually cause serious medical problems, such as increased cardiovascular injury risks, for which the defendants provided inadequate warnings.

Bellwether cases to begin next year

Following the establishment of the Illinois MDL for testosterone product cases last year, more than 1,000 complaints have been incorporated into this MDL. The vast majority of complaints relate to the product Androgel. Plaintiffs argue that manufacturers failed to warn about testosterone heart attack risks and risk of blood clots and stroke.

Preliminary (or “bellwether”) cases for the MDL are scheduled to take place between October 2016 and April 2017. All of these cases will involve Androgel complaints specifically. Bellwether cases involving other products are not expected to begin until at least some time in 2017.

  1. NPR, Popular Testosterone Therapy May Raise Risk Of Heart Attack
  2. PLOS One, Increased Risk of Non-Fatal Myocardial Infarction Following Testosterone Therapy Prescription in Men
  3. JAMA Report, Testosterone Therapy Following Coronary Angiography Associated With Increased Risk Of Adverse Outcomes
  4. NYTimes, Testosterone Gel Trial Ends After Heart Issue
  5. US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, MDL 2545