Endo, GlaxoSmithKline close to settling testosterone liability cases

Endo and GlaxoSmithKline have entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding a potential testosterone settlement. (Image: Pixabay)

Even with a bellwether trial victory on its side, Endo Pharmaceuticals and its Auxilium unit are moving forward with settlement talks for more than 1,000 testosterone drug liability cases. They're joined as defendants in some cases by former marketing partner GlaxoSmithKline. 

The court has stayed all proceedings involving the drugmakers so they can work toward a deal, according a Friday filing.

All told in the testosterone therapy multidistrict litigation, more than 6,000 cases are pending against Endo, Eli Lilly, AbbVie and other companies alleging aggressive marketing and dangerous side effects such as blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. 

In the order Friday, Judge Matthew Kennelly vacated bellwether trial dates in April and September for Auxilium and Endo, respectively. Endo previously prevailed in its first bellwether suit in November. Endo, Auxilium and GSK entered a memorandum of understanding regarding the potential deal, the court noted Friday.

RELATED: Endo scores a victory in its first testosterone bellwether case 

A spokesperson for Endo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The company faced about 1,300 testosterone liability cases as of November, with many in multidistrict litigation, some in Philadelphia courts and others in state courts.

A GSK representative confirmed the negotiations and said the deal "will not involve any admission of wrongdoing or liability." GlaxoSmithKline helped Auxilium market its testosterone drug Testim for a little more than a year, she added; the company didn't have a separate testosterone drug. 

On Tuesday, only days after the court order, Endo announced in its fourth-quarter earnings release that it's recording an increase to its legal reserves by $200 million, partly for the potential testosterone settlement.

RELATED: Endo accused of $112M payoff in Opana pay-for-delay suit  

News of the potential deal comes shortly after Eli Lilly entered its own memorandum of understanding about a potential testosterone settlement back in December. 

The Indianapolis drugmaker disclosed in its annual filing last week that it's facing about 550 cases and that it has reached an "agreement on a settlement framework that provides for a comprehensive resolution of nearly all of these personal injury claims alleging cardiovascular and related injuries from Axiron treatment." 

Lilly cautioned that the deal isn't yet finalized and that there's no assurance that it will come together.

Meanwhile, another top testosterone drugmaker, AbbVie, has had a mixed litigation record. It lost two AndroGel cases worth about $300 million, but prevailed in a recent bellwether trial. In one of the cases to go against the drugmaker, worth $150 million, the judge overturned the result for being "inconsistent" and ordered a new trial. 

AbbVie faces about 4,300 testosterone liability cases, the drugmaker reported in its recent annual filing.