For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Propecia Class Action Lawsuit Approved in Canada

A Canadian judge has approved a Propecia class action lawsuit allowing men who were allegedly injured by the hair loss drug to seek legal compensation for their injuries. A class action suit involves a group of plaintiffs with similar complaints regarding a single defendant. In this particular case, men claim to have experienced similar sexual side effects of Propecia, and wish to coordinate their complaints to save time, money and resources in the legal process.

Propecia and Proscar face similar complaints

The Propecia class action lawsuit was filed by Michael Miller against Merck Frosst Canada. Miller began taking Proscar, which contains the same active ingredient as Propecia, in 2008 at the age of 25. Proscar is used to treat prostate problems, while Propecia is primarily used as a treatment for male pattern baldness. Both drugs contain finasteride, which has been linked to sexual side effects in some patients. Miller was advised to cut his Proscar prescription to a quarter-tablet each day, which is the approximate equivalent to the dosage contained in Propecia.

Within one month after starting Proscar, Miller experienced a diminished sex drive. The complaint states that over the following months, Miller lost all interest in sex and could no longer maintain an erection for sexual activity. Miller discontinued use of Proscar at the beginning of 2009, “expecting that these alleged side effects would disappear.” Unfortunately, that was not the case, and Miller states he continues to suffer the sexual side effects of the drug.

Warnings of sexual side effects inadequate

Miller and his attorney also claim that Merck knew of the potential side effects with both Proscar and Propecia, but did not provide adequate warnings of those risks to Canadian doctors and consumers. The Canadian label for both products notes sexual side effects, which include impotence and ejaculation problems, are “uncommon and do not affect most men.”  This label contrasts sharply with the label for the same drugs in Sweden, which included a warning involving erectile dysfunction that could persist once the medication is discontinued.

Propecia side effects litigation has been growing in Canada, as well as the United States. Miller’s attorney stated that more than 300 additional plaintiffs have asked to join the Propecia class action lawsuit. More than 50 of those are from British Columbia. In the U.S., more than 400 lawsuits have been added to multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a federal court in New York. Additional lawsuits have been filed in local courts across the country.

Side effects of Propecia

Men who have taken Propecia have complained of similar side effects, including erectile dysfunction, decreased libido and ejaculation problems. For some, these side effects have persisted long after the medication was discontinued, leading to concerns that the sexual dysfunction could become permanent in some men. In addition to sexual side effects of Propecia, some men have also complained of depression, cognitive impairment and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

The Canadian judge that ruled in favor of the suit has only ruled that a class action is appropriate at this time. Certification is still pending, and the plaintiff’s lawyers have been asked to provide an affidavit listing potential litigants. Attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant must also provide information involving the expert reports they plan to submit as evidence in their case.