Attorneys Involved in Lawsuits Over Propecia Meet with MDL Judge

The first status conference will be held today in the recently formed multidistrict litigation (MDL) for all federal Propecia lawsuits brought by individuals who allege that they suffered sexual dysfunction and other side effects from the hair-loss drug.

In April, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all lawsuits filed in federal district courts throughout the country over Propecia will be centralized for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, before Judge John Gleeson.

In a docket entry earlier this month, an initial status conference was scheduled for attorneys representing all parties in the Propecia litigation to meet before Judge Gleeson and Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky today at 3:30 p.m.

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According to a proposed agenda submitted by the parties last week, it was requested that the court consider addressing several procedural matters and the organizational structure of the litigation, including creation of a service list, discussion about the structure for various attorneys representing plaintiffs in the litigation, admission of counsel, how pleadings and motions will be handled and the creation of a master docket file, among other items.

At the time the Propecia MDL was formed, there were 8 cases filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country that were transferred to Judge Gleeson. According to a transfer order issued today, only 10 more cases have been transferred into the MDL so far. However, it is expected that the number of lawsuits will continue to grow as Propecia attorneys continue to review potential cases for individuals who have experienced problems.

In addition to the federal litigation, at least 166 lawsuits over Propecia have been filed in New Jersey state court, where the cases were centralized in March before Superior Court Judge Jesica R. Mayer in Middlesex County. The initial Case Management Conference for the New Jersey litigation is not scheduled to occur until June 12.

Propecia (finasteride) was developed by Merck & Co. and is approved for the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is a low-dose version of Proscar, approved in 1992 for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

According to allegations raised in the complaints, side effects of Propecia increase the risk of permanent erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, testicular pain, depression and cognition problems.

For years, Propecia label warnings in the United States suggested that such side effects were temporary. Although Merck issued updated label warnings in other countries to indicate that some men report experiencing permanent problems, they failed to update the U.S. label until earlier this year.

Many plaintiffs allege that if they had been provided with accurate information about the risk of long-term sexual dysfunction from Propecia, they never would have taken the prescription drug to help restore hair loss and improve their appearance.


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