AbbVie Nearing Settlement in Thousands of Lawsuits Over AndroGel

AbbVie is on the brink of settling thousands of lawsuits alleging that the company’s AndroGel caused harm. The settlement would put an end to a long legal battle.

AbbVie has come to an agreement with plaintiffs on settlement terms, but the final settlement paperwork has yet to be executed.

Nearly 7,000 men have filed lawsuits against the company claiming to have been injured by testosterone replacement drugs. About 4,200 of those lawsuits involve AbbVie’s AndroGel.

AndroGel is a prescription gel that men apply to their chest and arms.

According to the lawsuits, the company targeted older men without warning of the risk complications. Plaintiffs claimed to have suffered strokes, heart attacks and blood clots because of the drugs.

The settlement will be confidential, like other pharmaceutical company settlements related to the testosterone drug.

The FDA approved AndroGel in 2000 to treat hypogonadism, a genetic defect that causes testosterone deficiency. But for several years, companies promoted off-label uses for the testosterone drugs to combat age-related low sex drive, fatigue and increased body fat. Sales of AndroGel hit $1.15 billion in 2012.

A string of lawsuits

AbbVie’s potential settlement comes after six bellwether trials before federal juries, which had mixed results. The company won a case in January brought on by a 72-year-old man who blamed AndroGel for his pulmonary embolism. They won another case in which the plaintiff claimed the drug caused his deep vein thrombosis.

Plaintiffs were victorious in other cases.

AbbVie is the final company to settle in the mass litigation. Actavis, maker of Androderm, came to a settlement in July. Endo International, whose subsidiary creates the drug Testim, settled in June.

More than 200 additional testosterone drug cases are still awaiting judgement in Cook County Circuit Court. Many of those cases involve AbbVie.