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A Canadian judge has approved a class action lawsuit over Propecia and Proscar, which alleges that Merck failed to adequately warn about the potential risk of long-term sexual problems that may be caused by side effects of the medications.
The Proscar and Propecia class action lawsuit was filed by Michael Miller in British Columbia, naming Merck Frosst Canada as the defendant.
On last Tuesday, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Robert Punnett issued a ruling that indicates the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed, despite claims by Merck that the case lacked evidence and that the allegations were overly broad.
“I reject the submission that the claim is overly broad and find that the plaintiff’s pleadings clearly indicate a cause of action limited to a duty to warn with respect to the side effect of sexual dysfunction, not side effects generally,” Justice Punnett ruled. “The allegations pleaded particularize facts sufficient to disclose a cause of action with respect to a duty to warn of sexual dysfunction, including post-market surveillance and pre-market testing, and the plaintiff’s allegations with respect to negligent design, manufacture and importing the drug fall within that duty to warn.”
Propecia Sexual Dysfunction Problems
Propecia was originally developed by Merck as an enlarged prostate treatment and marketed as Proscar in 1992. It was later approved to treat male pattern baldness, when it was given the more well-known name Propecia.
Although Propecia does not treat any disease or combat any health risk, it has become a top seller for Merck, amid aggressive marketing that encouraged men with male-pattern baldness to seek the prescription from their doctors.
Since it was introduced, a number of men have reported suffering severe sexual side effects from Propecia, including erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, genital shrinkage and problems with cognition.
Although the Propecia warning label provided by Merck suggested that some cases of sexual dysfunction were reported during clinical trials, the drug maker has been accused of providing misleading and inaccurate information, as the warnings also suggested that any such issues were temporary and resolve once the medication is discontinued.
In early 2011, evidence began to emerge to support what many men where experiencing, indicating that Propecia sexual problem could be permanent.
In the United States, Merck faces more than 400 Propecia lawsuits over the failure to warn about the extent of sexual problems men may face after taking the drug.
According to recent court records, there are at least 140 lawsuits over Propecia filed in the federal court system, which have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, as part of an MDL or “multidistrict litigation”. At least another 261 cases are pending in New Jersey state court, where the claims have also been centralized before one judge for coordinated proceedings as part of an “multi-county litigation”, or MCL.