Propecia Litigation Growing Quickly in New Jersey State Court
The number of Propecia lawsuits being filed in New Jersey state court is growing quickly, even as the litigation over side effects of the hair loss drug remains in it’s very early stages.
The complaints involve allegations that men suffered sexual problems after taking Propecia (finasteride), which is a prescription medication approved for treatment of male pattern hair loss. However, side effects of the drug have been linked to a risk of erectile dysfunction, infertility and other problems that may persist long after the medication is stopped.
On March 16, all lawsuits over Propecia filed in New Jersey state court were centralized for pretrial proceedings before Superior Court Judge Jesica R. Mayer in Middlesex County. While the initial Case Management Conference for the New Jersey Propecia litigation is not scheduled to occur until June 12, the number of cases pending in the state has already grown to include at least 153 lawsuits.
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The complaints involve similar allegations that Merck, which is based in New Jersey, failed to adequately research their medication or warn that users and the medical community about the long-term sexual side effects with Propecia.
While some of the New Jersey cases were filed months before the litigation was centralized, the number of complaints has increased dramatically in recent weeks, with at least 95 of the lawsuits filed in April 2012.
In the federal court system, a similar order was issued on April 16, consolidating the litigation for Propecia before U.S. District Judge John Gleeson as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. However, that litigation appears to be growing much slower.
An initial status conference has been scheduled in the federal Propecia MDL for May 30. However, according to a conditional transfer order issued on April 26, only eight cases filed in U.S. district courts throughout the country have been transferred into the consolidated federal litigation for Propecia so far.
As lawyers continue to review potential lawsuits for Propecia, the litigation in New Jersey state court and the federal MDL is expected to continue to grow.
Many men are just now learning about the connection between Propecia and their sexual problems, as the FDA just announced an update for warning label on Propecia last month.
New warnings now indicate that there is a long-term and possibly permanent risk of sexual dysfunction associated with the medication. However, the previous Propecia warning label suggested that most reports involving erectile dysfucntion and other sexual problems resolved after men stopped taking the drug.
At the initial status conferences that are set to occur in the coming weeks, it is expected that the parties will discuss the structure of the consolidated proceedings and how information will be exchanged between the parties in preparation for early trial dates or potential settlement negotiations.
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