AbbVie scored a win in an ongoing battle against thousands of lawsuits claiming AndroGel -- a drug marketed to treat low testosterone in men, causes heart attacks, strokes and other injuries -- when a jury decided the drugmaker was not to blame for a pulmonary embolism suffered by a 72-year-old Arizona retiree who started using AndroGel after seeing TV advertisements promoting testosterone therapy. It marked the first verdict in Chicago federal court to clear AbbVie of any wrongdoing.
The win comes after two separate juries in the same federal courtroom awarded punitive damages to two men who suffered injuries while taking the drug. However, inconsistencies in the first verdict led the judge to overturn it and order a new trial, scheduled to start in early March.
Those outcomes suggested “the jury is upset with the conduct or the morals of marketing by the drug company and not so much by the drug’s safety factor,” said Colin Gainer, a partner in the Chicago health care practice at law firm SmithAmundsen, who is not involved in the AndroGel litigation.