Several years ago, pharmaceutical companies seized on the opportunity to convince millions of men that they had a medical condition known as low testosterone. While some men do legitimately have a related condition called hypogonadism caused by the inability to produce adequate amounts of testosterone, the symptoms associated with low testosterone are a normal part of getting older. They can include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Weight gain resulting in noticeable fat around the midsection
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Decreased bone density
Pharmaceutical marketing campaigns sprang up around the insecurity that men felt upon reaching their middle age years. They offered quizzes so men could self-diagnose themselves as having low testosterone, often referred to as “Low T” in the marketing campaigns. The numbers prove that advertisers were successful in their bid to get men to ask their doctors about starting low testosterone therapy. Approximately half of all men who started taking medication for “Low T” had no true diagnosis of hypogonadism. Even more troubling, one-quarter of men never received any type of blood test before starting testosterone replacement medication.
Serious Side Effects Reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
After using products such as AndroGelTM for a few years, some men now claim that drug manufacturers did not include adequate warnings about serious side effects caused by low testosterone drugs. Patients taking AndroGelTM and related drugs have reported heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots that severely damaged their health.
Due to the number of complaints it received, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required all drug manufacturing companies that produced low testosterone drugs to include new warnings. As of June 2014, manufacturers had to include more specific language about the dangers of blood clots. The warning now states that taking medication for low testosterone increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and venous thromboembolism.
The following year, the FDA mandated a warning about the increased risk of heart attack and stroke. At the same time, it forced drug manufacturers to market products aimed solely at hypogonadism and not the more generic “Low T.” That essentially ended numerous marketing campaigns trying to convince men to start taking prescription drugs for a medical condition they didn’t really have. Unfortunately, these requirements by the FDA came too late for men already harmed by low testosterone drugs.
Jury Sends Powerful Message to Pharmaceutical Company with $150 Million Punitive Damages Verdict
Recently, a jury in Oregon awarded $150 million dollars to a man who suffered a heart attack at age 49 after using the AndroGelTM product for four years. The entire sum of the verdict is for punitive damages intended to punish the company AbbVie, a spin-off of Abbott Laboratories.
The case of Jesse Mitchell was the first of its kind to go to trial. The jury agreed on the punitive damages because it felt that AbbVie knew or should have known about the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical conditions. AbbVie plans to appeal the decision because it states Mitchell has a history of smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol that could have caused the heart attack instead of his taking AndroGelTM.
Are You the Victim of a Deceptive Drug Manufacturer?
You may be entitled to financial compensation if you took AndroGelTM or another drug that caused serious health complications that the company did not warn about on its labeling. George Collins, P.A. has decades of experience representing clients with pharmaceutical claims in court. If you win your lawsuit, you could recover damages for medical expenses, missed time from work, punitive damages, and more. Please contact our office in Jacksonville, North Carolina to request your free and confidential case review today.