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NY Plaintiff Joins Propecia Lawsuits in Federal Court

Propecia Label 500x500On January 22, 2013, a New York plaintiff joined other Propecia lawsuits in lodging a complaint against Merck & Co. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and alleges that the plaintiff suffers from erectile dysfunction caused by Propecia. The Propecia lawyer handling the case requests damages for his client’s “significant pain and suffering” and a severely diminished quality of life.

Finasteride also linked to cancer

Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, was initially developed to treat patients with symptoms of enlarged prostate (BPH). The medication, known as Proscar, is distributed in 5mg dosages. The FDA later approved finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern hair loss. This second medication, marketed under the brand name Propecia, is available in 1mg doses. However, as detailed in the recent claim against Merck, a lower dosage does not reduce risk: finasteride may induce high-grade tumors by reducing levels of intracellular DHT within the prostate. Furthermore, many Propecia lawsuits also allege that prostate tumors developing in men with low testosterone levels have higher-grade prostate cancer and worse outcomes than the prostate cancers that develop in men with normal testosterone levels.

Studies indicate erectile dysfunction caused by Propecia

Another major side effect alleged in lawsuits is erectile dysfunction caused by Propecia. The symptoms of sexual dysfunction purportedly extend to libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that may persist for months after discontinuation of the medication. In fact, by 2003, medical literature reported that the rates of erectile dysfunction in men taking finasteride were between 1% and 33%. Randomized controlled clinical studies report rates of erectile dysfunction with use of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors to be between 0.8% and 15.8%.

In October 2010, Merck was required to update its Proscar label to include male breast cancer. In March 2011, the manufacturer updated the Propecia label to include depression; in April 2011, the company updated its “Patient Information about Propecia” to indicate patients had reported “difficulty in achieving an erection that continued after stopping the medication.” In June 2011, Merck updated the Proscar label to include a warning about the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. In April 2012, Merck again revised their Propecia and Proscar labels to include a warning about the risk of erectile dysfunction that continued after discontinuation of treatment.

Propecia lawsuits charge fraud, negligence and other serious allegations

Unfortunately, these warnings came too late for many men, including this New York plaintiff. In 2009, when he was just 32, he was prescribed and began taking Propecia to treat male pattern baldness. While consuming Propecia, he was diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and related sexual dysfunction. To date, he allegedly continues to suffer from these adverse side effects. The claimant’s Propecia lawyer states that as a direct and proximate cause of these side effects,  his client has suffered significant pain and suffering, and his quality of life has been severely diminished.

Like other Propecia lawsuits, the plaintiff charges Merck with fraudulent concealment, strict liability, negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of unfair and deceptive trade practices acts. He requests compensatory, special, punitive and/or exemplary damages for his injuries, which include “severe emotional distress.”