Men who suffered from sexual dysfunction or other side effects after taking Propecia filed lawsuits against Merck, the drug's manufacturer.
Propecia has been prescribed to more than 1 million men in the United States since it was first introduced in the 1980s as a treatment for enlarged prostate. In the mid-1990s, drug manufacturer Merck decided to market Propecia as an effective treatment for male pattern hair loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Propecia as a hair loss treatment in 1997. Today, Merck still markets Propecia based on claims of effectiveness, such as “9 out of 10 men improve or maintain their hair.” But Propecia’s marketing history has been less forthcoming about potential dangerous side effects.
In June 2011, the FDA announced new labeling requirements for Propecia. The move was triggered by findings that finasteride, an active ingredient in Propecia, may increase the risk of developing a serious type of prostate cancer.
In April 2012, the FDA announced another label change for Propecia. This time, the FDA required that Propecia labels include warnings about “libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that continued after discontinuation of the drug.” However, regulators in Sweden had started investigating claims of sexual dysfunction from Propecia as far back as 2006. In 2008, Merck added warnings to Swedish labels about persistent erectile dysfunction after discontinuing use.
By the time the FDA made Merck take action in the United States, many lawsuits had already been filed across the country alleging injuries caused by Propecia. If you or a loved one has suffered from Propecia’s dangerous side effects, you may also be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.
Status of Propecia Lawsuits
Hundreds of Propecia lawsuits are currently pending in courts across the United States. In April 2012, a federal judicial panel transferred Propecia lawsuits pending in federal courts to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Each of those cases was filed against Merck and alleged that Propecia caused “persistent sexual dysfunction.”
The panel transferred these cases to Judge John Gleeson for faster case processing because it expects many more lawsuits with similar allegations against Merck. The cases are collectively known as multidistrict litigation (MDL) No. 2331. By January 2013, MDL No. 2331 had grown to 139 cases.
More than 200 Propecia lawsuits have also been filed in state courts in New Jersey, where Merck is headquartered. The New Jersey Supreme Court has also decided to centrally manage Propecia lawsuits. In March 2012, the court assigned Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Jessica Mayer to oversee the cases. As of February 2013, her docket had more than 250 Propecia lawsuits pending.
New lawsuits continue to be filed, and discovery is currently underway in these and other courts handling Propecia cases.
How We Can Help
Men turned to drugs like Propecia because of drugmaker claims that the product can improve their lives. But their lives have been changed for the worst, perhaps forever, because the drugmaker did not adequately warn them about the risks. Drugwatch offers information and support to people who have been harmed by drugs like Propecia.
Every day, we talk to injured consumers about the medical problems, emotional turmoil and financial hardships caused by drugs that were supposed to help them. We provide free advice and support to anyone who has been injured by Propecia.
Our Patient Advocates are available seven days a week to answer your questions and put you and your loved ones in touch with needed support. This includes providing you with general information about filing a legal claim and connecting you with experienced Propecia lawyers who can help you understand the legal process.
Why Should You File A Propecia Lawsuit?
A Brooklyn man filed a complaint against Merck & Co., Inc. and its subsidiary, Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on May 15, 2012. After taking the prescription drug for hair loss, he developed sexual dysfunction and cognitive impairment. He had no history of these conditions when he began taking Propecia in 1998 at age 33. Although he discontinued use, he continues to suffer these and other adverse effects, substantial pain and suffering, and a diminished quality of life.
He and other people who have filed lawsuits allege that the drug is a “defective” and “unreasonably dangerous drug.” They allege that, “when taken as prescribed and intended, [Propecia] causes and contributes to an increased risk of persistent and/or permanent serious and dangerous side effects.”
|The side effects include various forms of sexual dysfunction such as:|
|Erectile dysfunction||Reduced ejaculate volume|
|Reduced sexual sensation||Infertility|
|Diminished or reduced libido|
In addition, the drug could cause cognitive impairment and depression. These conditions may continue after patients stop taking Propecia.
Harm caused by Propecia may be irreversible and even deadly. Men who have been injured and people who have lost loved ones in connection with dangerous drugs are left to pick up the pieces when drugmakers act irresponsibly. Since coping with adverse side effects can place a burden on relationships, limit daily activities, impair ability to work and jeopardize financial stability, many of these people have filed lawsuits seeking relief, including compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Home health care
- Lost income
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
When available, plaintiffs also seek punitive damages to deter future misconduct by drugmakers. In addition, loved ones may be eligible for compensation for their pain and suffering and other expenses, such as funeral expenses if their loved one has died.
People Who Filed Propecia Lawsuits
According to legal complaints, sexual dysfunction is associated with finasteride as much as 39 percent of the time. Plaintiffs also point to 2003 data showing that sexual dysfunction is resolved in only 50 percent of patients who discontinue Propecia use. Below are just a few people who have made similar claims in Propecia lawsuits against Merck:
Other plaintiffs include:
- A King County, Wash., man who filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Washington in July 2011. His case was transferred to MDL No. 2331 in April 2012. He had no history of sexual dysfunction or cognitive impairment before he started taking Propecia for hair loss in 2008 at age 30. He has since developed those conditions and continues to suffer from them even though he has stopped taking Propecia.
- An Illinois couple sued Merck in federal court in Illinois in November 2011. Their case was also transferred to the federal MDL. In addition to the husband’s claims of sexual dysfunction and cognitive impairment caused by Propecia, the lawsuit also includes his wife’s loss of consortium claim. She alleges that because of the injuries caused by Propecia, she has lost her husband’s companionship and other contributions to their household and relationship. She has suffered mental and emotional anguish due to the damage Propecia has caused to their marriage.
|The above plaintiffs and other people injured by Propecia claim that Merck:|
|Failed to take “reasonable care” in designing, testing, manufacturing and selling Propecia.|
|Knew or should have known that Propecia increases the risk of persistent and permanent side effects, even after consumers discontinue use.|
|Failed to provide adequate warnings and even “knowingly and recklessly omitted and concealed” known risks from consumers and doctors.|
|Inadequately labeled the drug prior to April 2011 by failing to disclose sexual dysfunction risks.|
|Knew that the scientific community and the public would rely on the drug labels and “the presumption that the dangers did not exist,” yet marketed the drug without adequate warnings.|
If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries caused by Propecia, you may have legal options. Consider speaking with a qualified attorney to determine whether you can file a claim. A Drugwatch Patient Advocate can help you find one.