We have been covering how Propecia side effects like erectile dysfunction don’t go away for a while now, and so have been following the development of the Propecia lawsuits carefully. As we discussed in our last post, Merck's patent for Propecia doesn't expire until October 2013, and we believe that's why Merck, the manufacturer of Propecia, hasn't taken steps to update its warning label despite the Irwig study last May that confirmed the role of finasteride in causing not just temporary sexual dysfunction, but persistent erectile problems, even when taken at the lower 1 mg dose (rather than the higher 5 mg dose for prostate enlargement) recommended for treatment of male pattern baldness.
Since that time, Merck inexplicably took down the website for Propecia and then put it back up with the same defective warning it has been using all along. That warning says - wrongly, in our opinion - that sexual side-effects "occurred in less than 2% of men and went away in men who stopped taking Propecia because of them," directly contradicting the Irwig study showing the persistence of sexual side effects. It seems that Merck is intent on leaving the defective warning on Propecia labels and not informing consumers about the risk of permanent sexual side-effects until, perhaps, the patent runs out in October of next year.
On the litigation side, approximately 53 Propecia lawsuits have been filed, the overwhelming majority of them in New Jersey, where Merck's corporate headquarters are based. Just last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered that the 41 Propecia lawsuits filed in New Jersey would not be treated as a "mass tort," but they would be consolidated for pretrial purposes in front of Judge Jessica Mayer in Middlesex County. A hearing has been scheduled before Judge Mayer on April 19th to decide a number of the procedural and filing issues in the cases, and to appoint "liaison counsel," which is shorthand for the lawyers who will interact the most with the court on these procedural issues.
Similarly, later this week the federal panel on multi-district litigation is going to consider whether or not to consolidate the dozen cases filed outside of New Jersey into a single federal action. In our view that’s unlikely, and it’s unlikely there will be a formal class action, but they are both important developments to watch.
If you took Propecia and suffered low libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased arousal, or problems with orgasm that didn’t get better when you stopped taking Propecia, contact our dangerous drug lawyers for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.