After setting aside $200M, Endo settles 1,300 testosterone liability lawsuits

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Endo International is among a group of drugmakers facing lawsuits over testosterone drug safety risks. The company inked a settlement with plaintiffs on Tuesday. (Pixabay)

Reeling from a tough stretch, Endo International has inked a deal to put 1,300 testosterone drug liability lawsuits to rest.

The company disclosed a "master settlement agreement" on Tuesday to resolve "all known" cases it faces. It will pay into a settlement fund, from which plaintiffs can release their claims, according to an announcement. The deal doesn't include an admission of wrongdoing.

Late last year, the company added $200 million to its legal reserves to cover costs in testosterone product liability litigation. The company reported in May that it faced about 1,300 testosterone cases. About 900 suits are in a nationwide multidistrict grouping against Endo and several other drugmakers, according to Northern District of Illinois court filings; others are in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and in state courts. 

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The plaintiffs alleged that Endo and other drugmakers overmarketed their testosterone drugs and ignored safety risks, leading to serious health complications.

Endo last year won its first bellwether testosterone liability case brought by a Tennessee man who alleged the company's Testim caused his heart attack. After that victory, the drugmaker and attorneys for the plaintiffs entered a memorandum of understanding regarding a possible deal. The court stayed Endo case proceedings so the sides could work toward an agreement.

In its last quarterly filing with the SEC, Endo said it "believes it has appropriately estimated the probable total amount of loss associated with testosterone-related product liability matters," but that the litigation could end up costing more than the $200 million. 

"We expect the master settlement agreement and case management order will collectively assist claimants to move forward with their lives and permit Endo to move forward with an even greater focus on its core business priorities," Endo's chief legal officer Matthew J. Maletta said in a statement. 

RELATED: Endo, GlaxoSmithKline close to settling testosterone liability cases 

The company is among a group of drugmakers facing thousands of lawsuits alleging harm from testosterone replacement therapies. AbbVie faces about 4,600 lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation, according to the court, while Eli Lilly faces about 500. All told, the multidistrict litigation includes about 7,700 testosterone liability lawsuits. Eli Lilly previously entered a memorandum of understanding about a potential settlement over lawsuits alleging harm from Axiron.  

AbbVie has had mixed results in court in defense of AndroGel. In the first case to go to trial last July, jurors ordered the drugmaker to pay $150 million. The verdict didn't stand up to scrutiny, however, and a judge overturned the result. After a retrial, jurors ordered the company to pay $3 million.

Since the original verdict last summer, the company has won a case and lost another. In October, jurors ordered the drugmaker to pay $140 million, and AbbVie pledged to appeal. 

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

For Endo, the settlement comes after a tough multiyear stretch, during which it has lost more than 90% of its market value. The company has suffered from U.S. pricing pressure, executive turnover and more.

Last year, its write-downs totaled more than $5 billion. The company in March joined a $270 million settlement over Lidoderm pay-to-delay allegations. Endo is also named as a defendant in opioid cases brought by cities and counties, which allege the industry "grossly misrepresented" opioid risks, leading to the current crisis.

The company's shares were up about 5.5% Tuesday morning after news of the settlement.