Philadelphia personal injury firm Ross Feller Casey filed suit in state court
in Philadelphia late last week on behalf of an Alabama man who claims he suffered a stroke due to his use of the testosterone drug Testim.
The complaint is believed to be the first such civil action filed in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court against a maker of medication used to treat low testosterone in males.
“The pharmaceutical industry created a condition called Low T as part of a multi-billion dollar marketing and sales campaign,” firm partners Robert Ross, Joel Feller and Matt Casey said in a joint statement. “There was sufficient medical evidence to reasonably know that these drugs would cause injuries.”
The complaint was filed on behalf of Robert and Kathleen Hoehl, a husband and wife who reside in Anniston, Alabama.
The defendants named in the litigation are Chesterbrook, Pa.-based Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.
Robert Hoehl, 64, who had no prior history of cerebrovascular disease or neurological impairments, began taking the testosterone replacement drug Testim in the fall of 2011, the complaint states.
The following summer, Hoehl experienced a cerebrovascular accident and was ultimately diagnosed with concomitant erythrocytosis and clinical hyperviscosity syndrome, which the plaintiff claims was caused by the “exogenously administered testosterone-containing medication Testim.”
The man immediately discontinued his use of Testim, and after about three to four months of monitoring his blood counts, his hematocrit returned to normal levels, according to the civil action.
“Robert Hoehl’s cerebrovascular accident and neurologic sequelae were directly and proximately caused by the testosterone-containing topically applied medication Testim,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit, which Ross Feller Casey maintains is one of only a handful of such cases to have been filed to date across the country, says that Testim received Food and Drug Administration approval in October 2002.
It was launched in the United States the following year.
The plaintiff’s firm alleges that Testim was defective in its condition and unreasonably dangerous with respect to its design, warnings, instructions and/or indications for use.
The suit claims that the medical information concerning the “syndrome,” “disease” or “condition” classified as “Low T” was false and misleading, and conveyed inaccurate medical information for the purpose of creating a condition that would need to be treated with testosterone replacement therapy, such as through use of the drug Testim.
The complaint says that a decrease in testosterone levels is a “normal and expected component of the male aging process,” and is neither a “syndrome” nor “disease” nor “condition,” as described by the defendants.
“Defendants repeatedly and knowingly represented, through deeds, actions, and words, including an aggressive and pervasive direct-to-consumer advertising campaign, that low testosterone levels and ‘Low T’ were pathologic entities requiring treatment,” the lawsuit states.
Hoehl, the plaintiff in the case, maintains that he was never provided with information with respect to the risks of cerebrovascular accident and neurologic disability.
As a result of his using the defendants’ product, the plaintiff says he suffered neurologic impairment, cognitive deficits and impairments, loss of life’s pleasures, fear and fright, embarrassment and humiliation, economic loss, requirement for medical monitoring relating to this stroke, and a loss of earnings.
He also says he has incurred past, present and future medical expenses.
The plaintiff’s wife, Kathleen, has a loss of consortium claim in the litigation.
The complaint contains counts of strict liability, negligent design, breach of implied and express warranties, fraud and recklessness, and negligent misrepresentation.
The Hoehls' seek an unspecified amount of compensatory damages, plus interest, costs and delay damages.
The state case ID number is 140301684.