Did Your Doctor Know About Testosterone Drug Dangers?
Doctor Education Courses Downplayed AndroGel Risks
When you are sick, you visit a doctor. The doctor prescribes medication. You go to the pharmacy and get your prescription filled. But, how does your doctor know which medicine to prescribe?
Doctors learn how medicines work in the pharmacology courses that they take while in medical school. However, there a thousands of prescription drugs available in the U.S. Each year, dozens more drugs are prescribed by the FDA. And, dozens of warnings are made about drugs that were previously considered safe. So, doctors must continue to learn about the drugs that are available, their benefits, and their danger.
One way that doctors learn about new medications is through free continuing medical education courses offered by drug manufacturers. These courses allow doctors to earn the education credits they need to maintain their medical licenses, but they are also an opportunity for drug companies to promote their products. But, isn’t this a conflict of interest?
A 2007 congressional investigation showed that drug companies often use these to market unapproved or off-label uses for their products. This is against the law and puts patients in potential danger.
After the investigation, hospitals and medical schools refused to allow industry-funded drug education courses. So, the drug makers paid private, for-profit education companies to offer these courses. One of these manufacturers was AbbVie, the maker of AndroGel.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigated these courses. They learned that AbbVie funded 75 separate courses to teach doctors about the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy. In most of the courses, at least one faculty member had worked for a company that makes or markets testosterone products. These courses focused on the benefits of the drugs and downplayed any risks. Doctors were told that a man’s testosterone level is a “measure” of his overall health. The courses emphasized the use of testosterone therapy to improve health in men with age-related Low-T. And, prescriptions soared.
In 2014, 6.5 million prescriptions were written for testosterone products. In 2000, less than one million men were prescribed the drug. The increase was due to aggressive advertising as well as doctor education classes.
While testosterone products can make a man feel younger and more energetic, testosterone products have also been linked to serious complications. In 2014, two separate studies linked off-label testosterone treatment to cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks or blood clots. As a result, the FDA required drug companies like AbbVie to change the labels of testosterone products. AndroGel and other testosterone medications must now include a warning that they are not approved for men with age-related low testosterone, as well as a warning about the increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
“Why Would My Doctor Prescribe a Dangerous Drug?”
Our clients tell us that they assumed AndroGel was safe because it was prescribed by their doctor. These courses show that drug companies hid risks from doctors, as well as patients. Now thousands of men have paid for this deception with their health.
If you suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking AndroGel, you deserve accountability. The Drug Safety Lawyers are participating in a class action lawsuit against AbbVie and other makers of testosterone products. Call us at 888-808-1340 to learn more.