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Propecia Plaintiff Alleges Fraudulent Concealment

A New York resident filed a Propecia lawsuit on April 10, 2013, naming Merck as the defendant. The complaint was filed with regard to the alleged side effects the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendants’ medication, Propecia (finasteride). The case was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under Judge Anne E. Thompson. However, the complaint was later transferred to the Propecia multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

This MDL, a type of mass litigation that allows plaintiffs to retain their rights to individual trials, has grown substantially since it was first created on April 16, 2012 by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). Earlier in 2013, the MDL had already added almost 140 of the approximately 400 Propecia lawsuits pending around the country. The plaintiffs in the Propecia MDL share similar allegations, including sexual dysfunction that persists after the medication is discontinued.

Plaintiff suffers sexual dysfunction

Merck originally developed Propecia as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate. However, it later gained FDA approval as a treatment for male pattern baldness. In the body, testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that has an adverse effect on the hair follicles, contributing to baldness. Propecia works by interfering with the conversion process so the body no longer has as much DHT. However, numerous studies have linked the medication to significant and ongoing sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction.

According to this Propecia lawsuit, the plaintiff was prescribed Propecia in 2003 when he was 25 years old. The complaint indicates that the plaintiff did not continue to take Propecia after 2003. Before using the medication, the plaintiff did not report any sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment, or depression. However, after using Propecia, he is alleged to have developed all three of these side effects. At the time of the lawsuit filing, the plaintiff continues to suffer these side effects and alleges that his quality of life has been greatly reduced.

Medication said to be defective in design

One of the many allegations this Propecia lawsuit levels against Merck is that the medication is defective in design. The basis for this claim is that the plaintiff has continued to experience adverse side effects long after he stopped using the medication. The plaintiff’s Propecia lawyer contends that because of clinical studies conducted on the safety of the medication, the defendants were aware of “the defective and dangerous nature of Propecia.” However, Merck still failed to adequately warn the plaintiff or his physicians about the risk of serious and potentially permanent Propecia side effects, according to the complaint.

Lawsuit claims warning labels were inadequate

At the time that the plaintiff was prescribed Propecia, the drug’s warning label did not inform patients that side effects could continue long past the discontinuation of the drug. The plaintiff and his physicians relied solely on the drug’s labeling information and the patient package insert when determining if Propecia was appropriate for the plaintiff. According to the complaint, the plaintiff never would have taken the drug had he been fully informed of the risks. His lawyer contends that Merck distributed “only positive and misleading scientific data, and (concealed) scientific data that showed increased risk of persistent and/or permanent injury after discontinuation of risk.”

The plaintiff demands compensation from Merck for their alleged active and fraudulent concealment of the risks. The lawsuit lists compensatory damages for medical expenses, emotional distress, rehabilitative costs, and treatment for depression. The plaintiff also demands punitive damages.