Did Disease Mongering Fuel the Testosterone Boom?
As testosterone lawsuits involving AndroGel and similar drugs continue to make their way through U.S. courts, a newly-published editorial suggests that sales of low T treatments may have been fueled by “disease mongering” on the part of pharmaceutical companies.
What is Disease Mongering?
According to an article published in The Washington Post, disease mongering occurs when drug marketers “medicalize” issues that are just a normal part of life. An editorial published this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society asserts that the manufacturers of low T therapies engaged in this type of marketing in order to position their drugs as remedies for low libido, fatigue and other problems normally experienced by men as they grow older.
According to the authors of the editorial, disease mongering has helped sales of testosterone treatments grow some 10-fold over the past decade, from $324 million in 2002 to $2 billion in 2012. But as they caution, testosterone therapy may be associated with some very significant risks, and is only approved to treat hypogonadism (low testosterone), which the editorial notes is “a clinical disorder of the hypothalamus–pituitary–testicular axis that has a pathological basis.”
The authors call on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission to forbid advertising that suggests testosterone replacement therapy can alleviate “contrived” conditions, such as “andropause.” They also want the FDA to require that doctors prove a patient actually needs such treatment before they write the prescription.
The FDA has already ordered testosterone manufacturers to revise their products labels to make it clear that the medications haven’t been proven safe or effective for treating age-related symptoms. The March 3rd mandate was coupled with another directive ordering pharmaceutical companies to add new information about a possible association with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke to the drug’s labeling. The FDA’s action followed a more than year-long review of the cardiovascular side effects associated with low T treatment.
Testosterone Lawsuits Mounting in U.S. Courts
The FDA’s announcement of that review prompted hundreds of men to file testosterone lawsuits, after they allegedly experienced serious cardiovascular events related to the use of low-T therapy. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is representing a number of plaintiffs in this litigation, and our attorneys are offering free legal reviews to men who may have been harmed by AndroGel and similar drugs. To arrange for your consultation, please call 1-877-779-1414.