How sex drug Promescent sparked a $150 million legal battle

Sam Gangwer | The Orange County Register | AP

Stanwood Elkus, who is accused of shooting and killing his doctor at the doctor’s office in Newport Beach in 2013, is wheeled into Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana on Thursday, July 27, 2017.

It was a case of mistaken identity. Elkus blamed Gilbert for a botched prostate surgery decades earlier that had actually been performed by another doctor. He’s now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gilbert left behind a wife, Elizabeth, and two sons. Elizabeth Gilbert was in New York City the day of the murder. She was walking down Madison Avenue that afternoon. “All of a sudden — I can’t explain — but all of a sudden I felt like my soul was leaving my body,” she recalls. “I couldn’t even walk. Literally, I had to make such effort to just take a step.”

She soon learned her husband had been murdered at that moment, 3,000 miles away. They were married for 24 years.

She says her husband worked on Promescent for years because a number of his patients complained of PE and did not like current treatments.

In a video, Gilbert explained that what made his “delay spray” new and different was a formula that allowed lidocaine to be absorbed under a man’s skin without desensitizing his partner. (The Promescent website boasts the product can close the “orgasm gap” by extending a man’s performance “up to 64 percent longer.”)

Abraham was Gilbert’s patient, but they became friends after ending up sitting next to each other at a Lakers game with their sons. When Abraham went in for a checkup in 2011, Gilbert told him about Promescent. “I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I didn’t realize [PE] was that big of an issue.” The urologist wanted his advice on building a business around the product. Abraham asked for a sample.

That night, an especially successful date led him to become a believer. “It really does work,” he said.

Abraham invested $100,000 into the company and came aboard as CEO. “Our goal was to get the company to have the sales range of probably $3 [million] to $5 million, so we could prove it wasn’t just a theory,” he said. He believed the market could be worth billions and extend beyond just men suffering from PE, as many men might just want to last longer.

The afternoon of his friend’s murder, Abraham says the two of them exchanged text messages about Promescent’s potential. Gilbert wrote, “Things are going well, and the future is really bright.” Abraham replied, “‘Fasten your seatbelts, the ride is just getting started.'”

Forty-three minutes later, Gilbert was dead.

Abraham relocated to Las Vegas, and he almost gave up on Absorption. But he decided to continue, hoping that enough good would come from Gilbert’s invention to offset all the headlines about his murder.

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