Propecia Concerns Continue as More Cases are Filed


Merck & Co. is the defendant in yet another lawsuit related to the use of Propecia in which it is alleged that the medication is responsible for causing numerous serious side effects that include depression, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment and cancer. The suit filed by plaintiff Warren Shepherd in the New York Eastern District in Brooklyn, represents the latest of the cases involving this drug, a tally that has topped 700 actions.

Finasteride, sold on the market as Proscar and Propecia, is used in the treatment of hair loss as well as prostate hyperplasia, was prescribed to the plaintiff in this case when he was 61 years of age. Pursuing theories of strict products liability and fraud, Mr. Shepherd alleges that Merck was fully aware of the drug’s potential harmful and lasting side effects. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that Merck should have warned patients and doctors about the risk of permanent sexual dysfunction posed by the use of Propecia.

As of September of 2013, 739 actions had been filed in the Propecia Multidistrict Litigation, all of which included allegations similar in nature to those made by Shepherd. Several such suits have also been filed in Canada in which plaintiffs argue that their sexual interest and function have been permanently harmed due to their use of this drug.

May, 2013 saw FDA approval of changes to the labeling of Propecia to add a list of potential side effects of the medication, including libido disorders, erectile dysfunction, orgasm disorders, ejaculation disorders and male infertility. Patients would now also be alerted to the fact that those potential side effects could persist after use of the drug had been stopped. This stands in contrast to prior Merck assurances that Propecia’s potential sexual side effects would cease soon after patients discontinued their use of the medication.

Many impacted patients have alleged that not only did their sexual side effects not disappear once treatment with Propecia was stopped, their doctors did not acknolwedge or were unware of the potential for those side effects to be permanent. It appears to these plaintiffs that many physicians were relying on representations made by Merck sales representatives that any such side effects were only temporary in nature and entirely reversible.

In many instances, consumers have only recently gained an awareness of the link between their sexual dysfunction and their past use of Propecia. Many are under the impression that because their Propecia use occurred several years prior to this discovery, they no longer have the ability to file a lawsuit. However, there are numerous jurisdictions in which the statute of limitations on such claims does not begin until an injured party knows or should have known exactly what caused the harm they sustained. For that reason, individuals who suspect they have been adversely affected by Propecia should consider contacting an attorney.


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