How to file a "Testosterone" lawsuit in Nevada

Men in Nevada who experienced strokes, embolisms or heart attacks following testosterone therapy (such as AndroGel) may be able to join the other 7,500-plus plaintiffs who are suing the drug manufacturers for negligence. Depending on the case, victims may be able to recover hefty punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages for:

For years the $1.6 billion testosterone therapy industry has been making healthy men fear they are suffering from "Low T" and seek out unnecessary treatment, which carries significant cardiovascular health risks. In reality, the only condition this therapy has been approved to treat is hypogonadism.

In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about testosterone lawsuits in Nevada, including negligence claims, standards of proof, and statutes of limitations. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

Heart 20attack
Testosterone therapy can increase risk of heart attacks and strokes in some men.

1. What can I do if I got injured by testosterone in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Patients who suffered a heart attack or stroke from testosterone therapy may be able to sue the drug's manufacturer for negligence. In order to win a negligence lawsuit at trial, the plaintiff (victim) would need to prove the following four elements:

  1. The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  2. The defendant(s) breached this duty;
  3. This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
  4. This injury resulted in damages.1

A negligence lawsuit against the drug manufacturer would allege the following:

  • The manufacturer misrepresented through fraudulent advertising the health risks the therapy carried;
  • The manufacturer exaggerated the therapy's benefits while failing to warn doctors and patients about the safety risks and the monitoring necessary to reduce those risks;
  • The manufacturer exploited aggressive "direct to consumer" marketing ploys to persuade men who did not need testosterone therapy to ask their doctors about the therapy;
  • The manufacturer exploited aggressive advertising to make men think that testosterone treatment is a Viagra alternative or fountain of youth that will cure their age-related, off-label symptoms, such as lower sex drive, less muscle mass, less energy, and fatigue;
  • The manufacturer used "disease mongering" advertising to make men think they have "Low T," which is nothing more than the typical male aging process that does not necessarily require treatment; and
  • The manufacturer prioritized sales over the drug's cardiovascular risks to patients, who many not even need testosterone therapy

In short, testosterone product makers endangered otherwise healthy men by deceptively marketing their products to treat sexual dysfunction, low libido, age-related tiredness, and other symptoms that fall outside of the therapy's uses approved of by the FDA. Had the manufacturer been forthright about the purpose and risks of the therapy, physicians would not have prescribed it to patients who were not a good fit for the drug.

1.1. Injuries

Testosterone therapy has been linked to an increased risk of the following:

  • heart attack (testosterone may increase the heart's coronary artery plaque, which then reduces the flow of oxygen to the heart)
  • stroke (also called cerebrovascular accident or "CVA"; a study has shown increased stroke risk of 30%)
  • myocardial infarction
  • congestive heart failure
  • pulmonary embolism (when blood clots block lung arteries; studies showed some men developed blood clots within three months of beginning therapy)
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where clots develop in the legs
  • sudden death (sudden cardiac death)

Other effects can include low sperm count, swelling, difficulty breathing while sleeping, and prostate problems.2

2. What money can I get?

Damages that a testosterone therapy victim may be able to recover include compensatory damages for:

  1. Medical bills,
  2. Pain and suffering,
  3. Lost wages, and/or
  4. Loss of future earnings

Depending on the case, it may also be possible to recover punitive damages if the court finds that the manufacturer acted highly recklessly or maliciously.

Note that surviving spouses or relatives of a person who may have died from drug treatment can bring a wrongful death case against the manufacturer.

3. Whom can I sue?

Patients harmed by a drug product in Nevada may be able to sue its manufacturer. Common testosterone products and their makers are listed below:

Testosterone Brand

Manufacturer

Androderm (patch)

Actavis Generics Inc. (includes Allergen), Actavis Pharma Inc., ALU, and Anda, Inc.

AndroGel (gel)

AbbVie Inc.; Abbott Laboratories Inc.; AbbVie Products; Unimed; Solvay; Besins Inc.; Besins S.A.

Axiron

Eli Lilly

Delatestryl

Endo Pharmaceuticals

Depo-Testosterone

Pfizer Inc.; Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc.

Fortesta

Endo Pharmaceuticals

Striant

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals

Testim

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Endo Pharmaceuticals

Testopel

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals

4. How do I prove a claim?

Plaintiffs have the burden to show that it is more likely than not ("by a preponderance of the evidence") that the defendant was negligent. Typical evidence includes:

  • The plaintiff's medical records
  • Expert medical testimony
  • Marketing materials, including pamphlets, websites, television commercials, radio ads, magazine ads, and internet ads

Learn more about proving negligence in Nevada.

5. When can I sue?

People injured by testosterone therapy can sue the manufacturer for negligence within two (2) years after suffering an injury. But anyone harmed more than two years ago should still consult with an attorney about the possibility of joining an existing lawsuit.3

6. Should I file my lawsuit in Nevada or join a federal class action?

In most cases, class actions are not the best option for litigating a drug lawsuit. Instead, plaintiffs may be able to join a "multi-district litigation" (MDL). MDLs join similar cases in order to streamline preliminary, pretrial matters in an effort to expedite a resolution. Then if there is still no settlement, the individual cases can proceed individually in their original courts.

Currently, there is a testosterone MDL out of the Northern District of Illinois called IN RE: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation (MDL # 2545). It consists of more than 7,500 lawsuits against manufacturers (primarily AbbVie, which makes AndroGel), and it alleges that the manufacturers' deceptive marketing processes and failures to warn caused the plaintiffs' injuries. Of the 236 MDLs currently in the U.S., this MDL had the sixth most pending lawsuits.

This MDL judge ordered that six of the cases go to trial so that the parties can test their arguments, which in turn can encourage a settlement. So far, two of these "bellwether trials" ended in favor of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, who suffered heart attacks after using AndroGel, were respectively awarded $150 million dollars and $140 million dollars in punitive damages. Considering these large verdicts, it is likely that the manufacturers will proffer a settlement in the near future.4

An experienced Nevada personal injury attorney can help victims determine their best course of litigating their cases.

7. What is Testosterone used for?

Testosterone therapy drugs can help treat hypogonadism, which is when a male's sex organs produce little or no of the male hormone due to injury or disease. Therapy usually takes the form of a gel, patch, or injection. This therapy is not meant to treat age-related reduced testosterone ("Low T").5

8. Has Testosterone been recalled?

No. But in 2015 the FDA released a Safety Announcement that warns how testosterone products have not been approved for treating age-related low-T: "[T]he benefit and safety of these medications have not been established for the treatment of low testosterone levels due to aging, even if a man's symptoms seem related to low testosterone."6

Testosterone product labels also have to carry a warning about the health risks.

9. Resources

To learn more, see:

10. Related drug litigation in Nevada

Drugs that can work well on one patient can wreak havoc on another. Below are our informational articles on how to file Nevada lawsuits in other "mass tort" drug cases:


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Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...

Did taking testosterone give you a stroke or heart attack or other injury in Nevada? Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys want to try to win you a settlement to cover your expenses, including pain and suffering. Contact us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you pay nothing unless we win.


Legal References:

  1. See, e.g. Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (1996).
  2. FDA Safety Communication on Testosterone; Matthew J. Budoff, MD; Susan S. Ellenberg, PhD; Cora E. Lewis, MD, MSPH; et al, Testosterone Treatment and Coronary Artery Plaque Volume in Older Men With Low Testosterone, Journal of the American Medical Association (February 21, 2017); Testosterone treatment and risk of venous thromboembolism: population based case-control study, BMJ (October 28, 2016); Melissa Healy, Testosterone replacement products boost heart attack, stroke risk, FDA says, Los Angeles Times (March 3, 2015)
  3. NRS 11.190.
  4. Jeffrey Konrad v. AbbVie, 1:2015cv00966 (2017); Jesse Mitchell v. AbbVie, 1:14-cv-09178 (2017); the other bellwether defendants include Robert Nolte, Arthur Meyers, Robert Rowley, Edward Cribbs, and Cecile Frost.
  5. Mayo Clinic Article.
  6. FDA Safety Communication.

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