Viagra Melanoma Lawsuit Filed Against Pfizer

An Illinois man has filed a product liability lawsuit against Pfizer, alleging that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately warn that the side effects of Viagra may lead to melanoma, indicating that he was diagnosed with skin cancer following use of the popular erectile dysfunction drug. 

The complaint was filed recently by Edward Corboy Jr. in Cook County Court in Illinois, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

Corboy indicates that he was prescribed Viagra in 2008 for treatment erectile dysfunction, and was diagnosed with melanoma in December 2012.

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Side Effects of Viagra Linked to Risk of Melanoma Skin Cancer

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According to allegations raised in the Viagra lawsuit, Pfizer knew or should have known about the link between Viagra and melanoma skin cancer prior to his diagnosis, due to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that warned that Viagra could increase the invasiveness of the deadliest form of skin cancer. The lawsuit indicates that Corboy would not have used the drug had he known of the skin cancer risks.

Viagra Skin Cancer Risks

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) was introduced by Pfizer in 1998, and it has become one of the most widely recognized medications in the United States, used by millions of men to treat impotence and sexual dysfunction, including the inability to develop or maintain an erection.

As a result of aggressive promotion by the drug maker, Viagra is widely believed to be safe and carry few side effects. However, increasing evidence has emerged in recent years suggesting that Viagra side effects may increase the risk that man develop melnoma, a rare but deadly form of skin cancer.

Earlier this year, researchers from Harvard Medical School published the findings of a new study in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which found that men who took Viagra were 84% more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than men who do not use the drug.

Researchers hypothesize that Viagra lowers levels of a cancer-fighting protein called PDE5A. This, in turn, results in melanoma skin cancer cells becoming more invasive.

The American Cancer Society indicates that melanoma is diagnosed in about 69,000 Americans each year and causes about 8,650 deaths annually. The skin cancer usually manifests as unusual moles or patches of skin.

While it is often curable if caught early, once melanoma has spread beyond the skin and local lymph nodes, treatment is difficult and it may ultimately result in death.

Corboy is one of a growing number of men throughout the U.S. now pursuing potential Viagra melanoma lawsuits after being diagnosed with the skin cancer, alleging that if warnings had been provided for consumers or the medical community they may have elected not to use the medication or more closely monitored for early signs of skin problems while using Viagra.

The complaint filed by Corboy pursues claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

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