The latest lawsuit was filed by Warren Shepherd on September 13, 2013 (Shepherd v. Merck & Co., No. 13-05126), in the New York Eastern District Court, Brooklyn Office. Mr. Shepherd was 61 years old when he was prescribed Finasteride, which is marketed as Propecia and Proscar. (Generally, Propecia is used to treat hair loss while Proscar is used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia, but some consumers buy Proscar to treat hair loss because it is less expensive.) The lawsuit, which seeks damages for fraud and strict products liability, claims that Merck knew or should have been aware of these harmful and potentially permanent Propecia side effects.
As of mid-September there were 739 actions pending in the Propecia Multidistrict Litigation (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, MDL 2331 - IN RE: Propecia-Finasteride Products Liability Litigation). The allegations are similar to that filed by Shepherd: that Merck failed to warn on Propecia side effects that could cause permanent and devastating sexual dysfunction.
In May 2013, the FDA approved safety-labeling changes concerning Propecia adverse events. The warning now lists the following possible side effects:
Sexual dysfunction that continued after discontinuation of treatment, including erectile dysfunction, libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders, male infertility and/or poor seminal quality.
A number of Canadian Propecia lawsuits have also been filed against Merck Canada. A 34-year-old Saskatchewan man has launched a Propecia class-action lawsuit, alleging that his sex drive has been significantly affected by the hair loss medication and claims his loss of sexual interest “may never come back.”
Merck has claimed that sexual Propecia side effects experienced while taking the drug would “go away” when you stop taking Propecia. According to hundreds and possibly thousands of Propecia complaints, however, their side effects are here to stay.
Many doctors are still not aware that Propecia side effects don’t simply “go away” when the drug is discontinued. One patient said he was suffering Propecia sexual side effects, specifically erectile dysfunction and with that depression, a few years after he stopped taking the drug. His doctor said the problems were not related to Propecia but he couldn’t diagnose any other cause. Many people in the medical community believed Propecia drug sales reps when they were told the side effects would go away.
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Many Propecia consumers have only recently discovered a connection between their injury and Propecia, yet they took the hair loss drug years ago and think they are too late to file a claim against Merck. While every state has its own statute of limitations that limits the time in which a Propecia lawsuit can be filed, in some states the time limitation only begins when the injured person knows or reasonably should have known the cause of their injury. And while some Propecia victims might have “known” about the harmful side effects, their doctor could be telling them not to worry. It is best to contact a Propecia attorney and find out if in fact you are within the statute of limitations and can pursue a Propecia lawsuit.