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Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices News & Commentary on Prescription Drug & Medical Device Lawsuits

AndroGel and False Claims of Low Testosterone: Dying to be a Man…Literally

Posted in Androgel

The alpha-male. It’s a term traditionally used to describe an individual male mammal that is considered to hold the highest social standing in his community. Typically, an animal rises to alpha-male status by exhibiting signs of masculinity, confidence, and aggression to his peers. In acknowledgement of the alpha’s strength and leadership role, other members of the species often act subservient to the alpha, allowing him first dibs on all aspects of life, including food, sleeping places, and even mates.

Last year, the National Geographic channel ran a three-part series entitled, Going Ape, which showed that human males fight to be top-dog in much the same way mammals do in the animal kingdom. See http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/ape-man/episodes.aspx?series=1. The series suggested that men innately try to exhibit signs of masculinity, confidence, and aggression to their peers on a daily basis with the purpose of rising to alpha-male status. Instinctively, the high social standing seems to promise first pick in all of life’s essentials—careers, homes, and mates—to all who achieve it, and is thus vital.

Due to men being as sensitive as they are with regard to reaching, or else maintaining, alpha status, it is no shock that many men would take a diagnosis of low testosterone very seriously. What is shocking, however, is that there are companies who would prey on this anxiety.

Recent lawsuits have been filed involving a prescription drug called, AndroGel, which is manufactured, sold, distributed and promoted by AbbVie Inc. (hereinafter “AbbVie”) and Abbott Laboratories, Inc. (hereinafter, “Abbott”) as a testosterone replacement therapy. Defendants misrepresented that AndroGel is a safe and effective treatment for hypogonadism or “low testosterone,” when in fact the drug causes life threatening events, including strokes and heart-attacks.

The fatal problem began when defendant companies, AbbVie and Abbott, coordinated a massive, aggressive advertising campaign designed to convince men that they suffered from low testosterone—whether they actually did or not. As you can imagine, this sent a massive scare throughout the male universe. After all, it is testosterone that makes men…well, men. A lack of it could mean no-shot at even a beta status, let alone an alpha one.

A recent lawsuit was filed by Mr. Kelly in Illinois against the defendant companies. Mr. Kelly is only one of thousands of men who may have been harmed by AndroGel. His claims against the defendant companies include negligence, failure to warn, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, fraud, and misrepresentation. The complaint states:

“Defendants orchestrated a national disease awareness media blitz that purported to educate male consumers about the signs of low testosterone. The marketing campaign consisted of television advertisements, promotional literature placed in healthcare providers’ offices and distributed to potential AndroGel users, and online media including the unbranded website “IsItLowT.com.” The television advertisements suggest that various symptoms often associated with other conditions may be caused by low testosterone and encourage men to discuss testosterone replacement therapy with their doctors if they experienced any of the “symptoms” of low testosterone. These “symptoms” include listlessness, increased body fat, and moodiness—all general symptoms that are often a result of aging, weight gain, or lifestyle, rather than low testosterone.”

As a result of the massive advertising campaign, hordes of men—most of whom had never been diagnosed with any kind of testosterone deficiency in their lives—flooded in to see their doctors, expressing concern that they suffered from low testosterone.

Tragically, doctors, too, had been bombarded by the defendants’ campaign. Since the FDA had approved AndroGel, the defendant companies convinced primary care physicians that low testosterone levels were widely under-diagnosed, and that conditions associated with normal aging could be caused by low testosterone levels. As a result, thousands of men were indeed prescribed the drug.

Tragically, what the consumers received were not safe drugs, but rather a product which causes life-threatening problems, including strokes and heart attacks.

Our firm is currently taking on new cases involving AndroGel. If you have been hurt by this dangerous product, or if you have lost a loved one due to his use of AndroGel, please don’t hesitate to call us. Additionally, if you are a physician who prescribed AndroGel to a client because you relied on the defendant companies’ promises with regard to AndroGel’s safety, we would be happy to speak with you.