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Alabama man claims penile injections left him sterile

February 11, 2019

An Alabama man says a men’s clinic promised him he’d be “like Superman” in bed, but instead he was left with a crooked penis.

Michael Forkner, 51, says he was duped by radio advertisements promising a miracle drug for erectile dysfunction. According to federal court records, his urologist says after a year of injecting TriMix into his penis, it is now effectively nonfunctioning and may need an implant.

“These clinics prey upon a segment of the population looking for health on a sensitive matter,” said Mr. Forkner’s attorney, Dennis E. Goldasich Jr., who filed a lawsuit against Alabama Men’s Clinic and the drug’s manufacturers. “This can be tough on guys who are experiencing for whatever reason, and when they hear about a doctor and a men’s clinic that sounds official, they’re willing to go in and try whatever it takes.”

A spokesman for the clinic blasted the charges and said Mr. Forkner is seeking a scapegoat for a problem he had long before entering the clinic’s offices.

“The facts of this case will indicate this is a baseless claim,” said spokesman Kyle Fisk.

In January 2016, Mr. Forkner visited the Alabama Men’s Clinic in Birmingham for problems in maintaining an erection, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, according to the lawsuit. A clinic employee offered a penile injection of TriMix, manufactured by DCA Pharmacy and Olympia Compounding Pharmacy, calling the treatment safe and effective. Mr. Forkner says he initially balked at the treatment before the employee told him of his own personal satisfaction with the product. He then agreed to a trial injection.

“After receiving the initial penile injection, Plaintiff experienced a full erection within 3 to 5 minutes of receiving the injection,” the lawsuit states.

The erection lasted two hours until Mr. Forkner was able to reduce it with an ice pack.

Over the next year, Mr. Forkner took TriMix injections, often several per week, and sometimes was left with erections lasting hours, called priapism.

Lawyers for the defendants dispute the 58-page lawsuit’s accusations.

“There was a point in time this was a very satisfied customer,” Mr. Fisk said.

Following an injection of TriMix in February 2017, Mr. Forkner said his penis took on a “hook-like” shape. He never used the drug again, and a urologist told him he suffered from Peyronie’s disease, a curving of the penis after the build-up of scar tissue.

In August, Mr. Forkner filed suit in Jefferson County court in Alabama. The drug manufacturer defendants moved the legal battle to federal court last fall.

Tobias S. Kohler, a urologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said Mr. Forkner’s experience is common for men seeking virility from clinics.

“Often these ED clinics are not having adequate risk and benefit discussions,” said Dr. Kohler, who is not involved in the lawsuit. “And probably, worse, they don’t have the resources and complications to know how to fix this.”

Dr. Kohler said men’s clinics across the country operate often by charging “twenty times” the cost for medication that urologists can administer for much less.

Mr. Fisk rejected any parallel between Alabama and other cases across the country.

“Every medical malpractice [case] is unique,” the Alabama Men’s Clinic spokesman said.

In 2016, Massachusetts’ attorney general won a court decision to stop the Florida Men’s Clinic and Men’s Medical Group from operating clinics in the state after non-medical personnel gave penile injections.

A federal judge will decide whether to continue Mr. Forkner’s lawsuit or remand it back to the state court.

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