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Most drugs have some type of negative side effect. But you usually know what those side effects are and decide that the medical benefits outweigh those risks. So, if you're not told what the risks are, you can't make that analysis.
In a recent case out of federal court, a man claimed that a drug manufacturer misrepresented the risks of his medicine, and he found out the hard way when he suffered a heart attack. Although the jury didn't agree with all of his claims, they did decide that the company was negligent and awarded him millions.
Testosterone and Heart Attacks
For almost five years, the plaintiff in the civil suit, Jesse Mitchell, used AndroGel, a testosterone replacement drug made by the pharmaceutical company, AbbVie. In 2012, he suffered a heart attack. In his lawsuit, Mitchell argued that Abbvie failed to adequately warn him about the risks of taking AndroGel. His case included claims of negligence, strict liability, and fraudulent misrepresentation. The jury only agreed with his negligence claim.
Strict liability vs. Negligence
Strict liability and negligence are both legal theories used to show that someone is responsible for the plaintiff's injuries. With negligence, you have to show that the defendant was at fault because they, among other things, failed in the duty of care they owed the plaintiff. With strict liability, you don't have to show fault. Usually, it's a matter of showing that the product they manufactured or sold had some unreasonably dangerous defect.
A Second Trial
This case was actually the second AndroGel trial for Mitchell against Abbvie. The jury in the first trial awarded Mitchell $150 million, but the judge in that case threw the verdict out, saying it was “logically incompatible,” and ordered a new trial. With the finding of negligence in this trial, the jury decided that Abbvie owed Mitchell $200,000 in economic and non-economic damages related to his heart attack, and $3 million in punitive damages.
If you've been injured by a drug or medical device, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your options for compensation.