January 27, 2018 / 2:19 AM / 4 months ago

AbbVie wins U.S. trial in lawsuit over AndroGel's risks

(Reuters) - A federal jury in Chicago on Friday found AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N) not liable in a lawsuit by an Arizona man who claimed he had suffered a pulmonary embolism due to using the company’s testosterone replacement medication AndroGel.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works by the post that trades AbbVie on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The verdict in the lawsuit by Robert Nolte was the third to date in federal court in litigation over AndroGel, a drug approved for men whose bodies produce low or no testosterone that has become the subject of lawsuits by thousands of people.

“Our trial team did an excellent job with a very complicated case,” Christopher Seeger, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in federal litigation, said on Friday. “We look forward to the next trial and holding AbbVie accountable for putting profits before safety.”

Chicago-based AbbVie did not respond to a request for comment.

AbbVie says it faces 4,510 cases nationally over injuries blamed on AndroGel. The verdict came in one of a series of test trials in federal litigation over AndroGel aimed at helping both sides gauge the range of damages and define settlement options.

    A federal jury in July awarded an Oregon man $150 million in punitive damages but awarded him no compensatory damages. A federal judge in December tossed the award and ordered a new trial.

    A second jury in October ordered AbbVie to pay $140 million in punitive damages and $140,000 in compensatory damages in the case of a Tennessee man who claimed the drug caused him to suffer a heart attack. AbbVie is challenging that verdict.

    The latest trial stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Nolte, who suffered an embolism two months after he began using AndroGel, which he was prescribed for the off-label use of treating a drop in testosterone levels, according to court papers.

    Nolte said AbbVie fraudulently misrepresented the drug’s risk and misled patients by marketing AndroGel on television for off-label use.

    AbbVie has said that its marketing of AndroGel adhered strictly to uses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that it was in full compliance with applicable standards.

    Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Additional reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

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