AbbVie strikes tentative deal to settle 4,000-plus AndroGel lawsuits

AbbVie has had success defending against AndroGel lawsuits in court, but the drugmaker still faces thousands of lawsuits alleging harm from the testosterone drug. Now, the sides have reached a “potential global settlement,” according to a court filing Monday from Judge Matthew Kennelly.

Judge Kennelly in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois put a stay on future proceedings in the cases “so that the parties may devote their efforts to finalizing a Master Settlement Agreement.” The parties have entered a “Confidential Term Sheet” regarding the deal, according to the judge, seeking to resolve all outstanding cases.

As of a recent quarterly filing, AbbVie said it faced 4,130 cases in the AndroGel multidistrict litigation. Already, six cases have gone to trial, and juries ruled in favor of AbbVie in four of them.

The company previously lost cases worth $150 million and $140 million, but judges struck the verdicts in appeals. In the case that originally ended in a $150 million verdict, a separate jury ordered the drugmaker to pay $3.2 million after a new trial. AbbVie said it would appeal the result. The other case AbbVie lost originally has yet to go to another trial.

In their lawsuits, plaintiffs claim AbbVie aggressively marketed AndroGel while ignoring its risks. The drug reached blockbuster status in 2012 and 2013 before falling more recently after lawsuits emerged and the FDA placed new safety warnings on the med.

Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and Endo have also been involved in the Illinois multidistrict litigation. In June, Endo moved to settle 1,300 cases after estimating total costs of $200 million for a settlement. GlaxoSmithKline never marketed its own testosterone drug, but helped Endo promote Testim for about a year.

For its part, Eli Lilly reported in an annual filing early this year that it reached an agreement on a “settlement framework” to resolve “nearly all” of its Axiron cases. The company didn’t disclose a settlement amount. It faced about 550 testosterone lawsuits, according to the filing.