Brandon Bogle, Levin, Papantonio lawyer and Testosterone lawsuit expert, calls attention to the ways makers of testosterone therapies created a billion dollar industry based on a largely invented disease.
It’s important to note upfront that there’s no doubt that hypogonadism, which causes dramatically low levels of testosterone in males due to rare pituitary and testicular diseases, is a real medical issue that often requires treatment. However, this is an uncommon medical problem and has a range of symptoms that range from breast growth to loss of hair to infertility. In fact, testosterone was approved by the FDA specifically to treat this problem.
An Irresponsible Industry Is Born
Then, it seems, an idea was born. Hypogonadism has a limited amount of sufferers, therefore resulting in limited potential profit for the manufacturers of these drugs. There are, however, a growing number of baby boomer males who are getting older and feeling the natural effects of that age. Viagra®, designed to treat erectile dysfunction, developed a substantial secondary user base of these men. Men who did not have clinically diagnosed erectile dysfunction could still be enticed by marketing that offered a rebirth of vigor and sexual desire. The makers of testosterone repackaged their products to attract the same audience with a version of the same marketing platform as Viagra.
An Age-Related Condition Becomes A Disease State
Lowered energy, loss of muscle mass, and hair loss are all symptoms of natural male aging. Lowered testosterone levels are also a part of this mix of symptoms. However, testosterone products have not been proven to combat these age-related symptoms. But, they have, in multiple studies, been connected to adverse cardiovascular events. Drug companies - unphased by this truth and reports of dangerous side effects of their drugs – immediately manufactured a strategic messaging campaign solely designed to contradict much of the legitimate medical understanding available. They systematically created medical literature, advertising, studies and an “expert” network to rebrand, repackage and in a sense reimagine what testosterone use could do for a male.
Using subtle and effective fear-based marketing with under the radar, multi-dimensional tactics, drug manufacturers, like AbbVie, the makers of AndroGel®, focused on winning over two audiences - physicians and males aged 45+. To physicians they created a cache of ‘scholarly’ articles planted in popular magazines about the dangers of low testosterone, ghostwritten patient education materials, and pay-for-hire physicians to speak at conferences. They even produced “consensus statements” written by hired medical writers from AbbVie sponsored events. To the public, advertising was driven by the catch phrase “Low-T” and online, on television and in social media testosterone manufacturers created campaigns promising increased energy and sexual capability. In fact, even now, AbbVie boasts that AndroGel can improve energy levels, have positive effects on mood, improve bone health, improve sexual satisfaction, and reverse sexual dysfunction, among other claims. However, there is no scientific data establishing these claims as true for the aging male that these products are pushed upon.
As billions of dollars were pouring into the coffers of the drug manufacturers as a result, news of the serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects in users of these drugs surfaced.
How Manipulated Messaging Put Testosterone Users In Danger
The FDA’s hand was forced in response to the relentless advertising and promotion deliberately misleading the public and physicians, and the dangerous side effects these therapies can produce. Multiple warning letters have been sent from the FDA to sponsors of testosterone therapies over “inappropriate and misleading promotions”. Further, the agency is set to order strict new packaging guidelines that ensure labels clearly indicate that these products are not for men who are simply looking to relieve symptoms associated with aging.
Helping Those Who Have Suffered Find Justice
There are over 25 years of independent medical testing and studies that connect the use of testosterone therapies to a significant increase in the risk of blood clots, strokes and serious cardiac events. In fact, in the Journal of American Medicine in 2013, a study found that men taking testosterone therapy had a 29% greater risk of death, heart attack and stroke. Even when scientists accounted for other factors in the patients’ health, the increase of heart events in those on testosterone therapy was significant, according to the study.(1)
CNN Medical Professor Val Wadas quoted Dr. Anne R. Cappola, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a contributing editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association: "In light of the high volume of prescriptions and aggressive marketing by testosterone manufacturers, prescribers and patients should be wary. We are just beginning to see the effects of hormone replacement therapy in men. In women, we have data from decades of research. But for men, we are still sort of in the dark.”
The FDA has ordered an immediate review of the dangers of testosterone therapies. In the meantime, the number of users who have suffered as a result of their dangerous side effects continues to grow.
New Facts On The Levin, Papantonio Testosterone Lawsuit
Levin, Papantonio is among the first law firms in the country to file a lawsuit on behalf of those who had suffered injuries as a result of testosterone use. Recently, the federal court in Illinois handling the nationwide testosterone litigation appointed Levin, Papantonio lawyers to the prestigious executive committee handling this litigation on behalf of those injured.
We are in the process of discovery right now, finding new information daily that is deeply troubling. One thing that does not change is that this multi-billion dollar industry built of fabrications of the truth continues, defying the pain and suffering that users of these drugs have felt.