The Propecia Class Action Lawsuit
All over the United States, more and more men are starting to open up and come together to discuss the very serious matter of a Propecia class action. An estimated 91% of men who take the medication have claimed to experience side effects related to their sexual performance and interest in intercourse.
While these effects are explicitly noted on the label, many claim that Merck has deliberately made these warnings misleading by misrepresenting the duration of the problem. Rather than fade once treatment has been discontinued as the manufacturer claims, men have found that the problem can persist for as long as 40 months after the last dosage of Propecia.
Finasteride was developed by pharmaceutical company Merck as a treatment for male pattern baldness, but has also been marketed as a possible medication for benign prostatic hyperplasia. It has been marketed under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, as well as various generic variations of the formulation. Formulations of finasteride under the Proscar brand name contain a higher concentration of the active ingredient than the Propecia brand.
Its claims are based on a five-year study, wherein two out of the three participants displayed positive results. According to Merck, a significant improvement in the hair growth of the test subjects was reported within the test period. The results were verified by an independent panel of dermatologists, reporting that 48% of subjects had displayed visible re-growth. Another 42% of the participants experienced no further hair loss during the testing period.
Merck has claimed that the effects of finasteride only persist so long as doses are regularly taken. As with all other medications, the label contains a list of known common side effects.
Known Side Effects
Reports from Merck indicate that the drug has anywhere between a 1.1% to 18.5% chance of causing impotence. Another major side effect was abnormal ejaculation, which may occur in 7.2% of all who take the drug. The other effects, including decreased ejaculatory volume, erectile dysfunction, testicular pain, and the abnormal growth of mammary glands, had varying degrees of likelihood. Merck insists that these side effects begin to fade once someone has stopped taking Propecia.
Finasteride is also in FDA pregnancy category X, which means that it can cause birth defects in developing fetuses. Women are advised to avoid handling crushed or powdered forms of the substance, as it can be absorbed into the body through skin contact. Finasteride has also been found to pass via semen, but Merck insists that this is not a medical concern.
Apart from what is on the label, other authorities have pointed out that finasteride – in any of its formulations – has other adverse effects. According to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, the compound may cause an increased risk of male breast cancer. In 2009, the Swedish medical community cited that there was a “potential risk” of having permanent erectile dysfunction due to the use of the medication.
In 2010, Merck was obliged by the Food and Drug Administration to add clinical depression to the drug’s known side effects. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also showed evidence that the use of finasteride may increase the risk of prostate cancer, prompting the FDA to once again require the display of the information on the label.
An endicronology study from George Washington University had evidence that the drug’s side effects could persist long after the patient had stopped taking it, contrary to Merck’s claims. While the manufacturer has updated the label for the drug in other markets, it has continued to use incomplete information to patients within the United States market.
For the men who have become afflicted with the potentially permanent damage that this can cause, it can be difficult to open up. Erectile dysfunction has long been considered a “humiliating” condition, with sufferers often preferring to keep quiet rather than admit to it. However, this ignores the impact that this can have on someone’s self-esteem, their self-confidence, and their interpersonal relationships. It also prevents them from seeking help, whether in the form of personal legal options or by joining a Propecia class action.
Men seeking compensation may consult with legal professionals, who will listen to their story and can explain the merits of their case and what options they may have. A collective Propecia class action can be filed on the behalf of multiple claimants, to reduce the cost of litigation and allow for a more expedient legal process. However, the final decision on the type of legal action to take still falls on the person seeking legal counsel.