The second bellwether trial involving the testosterone-boosting product Androgel ended Thursday in a verdict for the plaintiff. The jury found that the manufacturer, AbbVie, had failed to properly test the product in order to determine whether it posed a danger of heart attack, and deliberately engaged in false advertising, marketing the product to men whose low testosterone levels were due to natural causes associated with the aging process.
AbbVie was ordered to pay $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Jeffery Konrad of Tennessee, who filed the lawsuit in 2015. Konrad was 49 years old in 2010 when he suffered his heart attack after using AndroGel for only eight weeks. The Konrad trial follows another verdict involving an Oregon man, Jesse Mitchell, who began using AndroGel in 2008 while in his early forties and suffered a heart attack four years later. That jury also found that AbbVie had engaged in false advertising, which was the basis of the verdict.
In the Konrad case, the jury also found that AbbVie was guilty of intentional misrepresentation of the product, as well as misrepresentation by concealment and negligence.
Both plaintiffs were represented by Troy Rafferty of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor PA, along with David Buchanan of Seeger Weiss LLP, and Bill Robins III of Robins Cloud LLP. Of today's victory, Rafferty said, “Now another jury has condemned the conduct of this drug company as it relates to this drug. On the heels of the $150 million verdict earlier this year, these two verdicts send a strong message to this company about their conduct and the need to change.”
A spokesperson for AbbVie says the company did nothing wrong, complying with all FDA standards and approved indications. In a statement, the defendant said, “We are disappointed with today's verdict and we intend to appeal.”
The multidistrict litigation case is in re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2545. Currently, there are approximately 6,000 lawsuits pending against AbbVie.