Propecia Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Roles in Federal Litigation

A group of lawyers have been appointed to serve in various leadership roles in the federal Propecia MDL (multidistrict litigation), which was established earlier this year for pretrial proceedings in all lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States involving men who suffered sexual dysfunction and other side effects from Propecia, a prescription medication for male-pattern hair loss.

These attorneys will perform certain functions throughout the litigation that will benefit all plaintiffs who have filed a Propecia lawsuit after suffering erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, testicular pain, depression and other sexual problems.

In April, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all the Propecia litigation as part of an MDL before District Judge John Gleeson, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. This will allow the parties to reduce duplicative discovery in cases throughout the country and eliminate contradictory pretrial rulings.

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In the June 22 court order (PDF), Judge Gleeson appointed five lawyers to sever on a Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, 10 attorneys to a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and two lawyers to serve as as Co-liaison counsel.

As of last month, there were about 18 cases consolidated before Judge Gleeson, but as additional lawsuits are filed by Propecia lawyers in federal courts throughout the United States, they will be transferred to the MDL for pretrial proceedings.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Merck & Co., the manufacturer, failed to adequately warn doctors and patients that the hair loss formula could cause long-lasting and even permanent sexual problems.

Although the lawsuits have been consolidated as part of an MDL, they remain individual cases and each plaintiff must establish that their injuries were caused by the use of Propecia. Following pretrial proceedings, if a settlement or other resolution is not reached, each case may be remanded back to the court where it was originally filed for an individual trial.

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.

For years, the Propecia label warnings in the United States suggested that any sexual side effects caused by the medication would be 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.

In addition to the federal litigation, at least 167 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.


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