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MDL in Chicago for Low-T Lawsuits

androgel-pictureA Multi District Litigation court is set up when the judiciary is made to believe there will be a great number of related cases in a given litigation. An MDL court can be set up to handle one sole manufacturer – such as cases involving AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Androgel – or to handle cases against several manufacturers, such as the MDL which was created this month in Illinois.

Federal lawsuits against the makers of AndroGel and other testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) products will be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where the first Low T Lawsuits were filed in 2014.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) ordered that all federal lawsuits over testosterone therapy be tried in Chicago. Pretrial proceedings for these cases will be handled by Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.

The judiciary panel wrote:
“Centralization of claims involving all testosterone replacement therapies will reduce potentially costly expert discovery, facilitate the establishment of a uniform pretrial approach to these cases, reduce the potential for inconsistent rulings (and) conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.”

Mass Tort vs. Class Action

MDL’s are typically created to handle mass torts, which differ from class action lawsuits. In class actions, lawsuits usually involve cases in which each individual filing litigation is virtually indistinguishable with another in terms of damages. Mass torts, by contrast, involve individual lawsuits which are each prosecuted according to their own individual merits, taking into account each individual’s pre-existing conditions, medical history and other factors which differentiate the individuals involved.

Matthews & Associates, for one, handles all of their Low T cases not as class actions but as mass torts, or as individual cases. The firm prosecutes each of its cases on its own merits and prepares each case for trial, regardless of the fact that only a very small percentage of mass tort cases ever go to trial.  The firm also offers a free legal consultation for any Low-T or Testosterone Lawsuit case.

Androgel Lawsuits top the List

AndroGel is the most popular Testosterone Replacement therapy (TRT) – or “Low T” – product on the market. Abbvie and Abbott Laboratories, the makers of AndroGel, face roughly 50 claims so far which were filed in courts around the United States and which will be moved into the new MDL in Chicago. All these will be handled by Judge Kennelly, who might eventually handle several thousands of claims against other TRT manufacturers such as Eli Lilly (Axiron), Watson Laboratories (Androderm) and several others.

The original claims against AbbVie and Abbott – which are both based in the Chicago area –  both charge that the companies hid AndroGel dangers from consumers. Three of the five plaintiffs claim they suffered heart attacks after using AndroGel. A fourth man claimed to have had a stroke caused by AndroGel; a fifth alleged that he suffered a mini-stroke.

Injections, Patches, Gels all consolidated

Other defendants in the MDL – such as Pfizer and Pharmacia & Upjohn – wanted to create a separate MDL solely for testosterone gels. The panel denied that request after determining that the claims in each separate case involve enough common scientific facts and legal theories to merit consolidation.

The first lawsuits were filed just four days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – oh Jan. 31, 2014 – said that it would re-examine the safety of testosterone therapy drugs. The FDA action was a response to recent studies that concluded certain groups of men raise their risk of heart attack if they take testosterone therapy. Consumer groups are asking the FDA to mandate that a black-box warning (the strongest possible) be added to all testosterone products.

Low T Sales Top $1.5 Billion

Low T sales have expanded like balloon angioplasty in the last ten years. Combined low T gel, patch, time-release capsules and injection sales topped $1.6 billion in 2013. Sales are expected to reach $5 billion in the next three years.

Testosterone therapy is approved only to treat men with hypogonadism. In this rare condition,  the body fails to produce proper levels of testosterone. But many doctors prescribe it for other reasons as well. More and more men are using TRT and Low T drugs to gain stamina or rejuvenate emotionally, physically, sexually. Many  television and magazine advertisements promote these uses much more than they promote the only FDA-approved use, hypogonadism.

Doctors can test a man’s blood to see whether he has low testosterone levels; yet many reports appear to indicate that many men never get tested before beginning treatment.

Matthews & Associates is filing Low T or Testosterone Lawsuits throughout the country, in both state and federal courts. If you or someone you love has suffered a heart attack, stroke or deep vein thrombosis/ DVT or blood clots after taking Testosterone, please contact us for a free legal consultation today.

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