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Viagra Melanoma Risk May Lead to Lawsuits Against Pfizer

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Following the publication of a recent study that found a possible link between Viagra and melanoma skin cancer, it appears that Pfizer may face product liability lawsuits over the failure to adequately warn about the potential risks associated with their popular erectile dysfunction drug.

According to a study published in this month’s issue of the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from Harvard Medical School indicate that men taking Viagra may face an 84% increased risk of developing melanoma.

The prospective cohort study involved a review of data for nearly 26,000 men, with the findings released on-line in April, ahead of print in the journal this month.

Researchers suggested that Viagra’s active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, appears to lower levels of a cancer-fighting protein called PDE5A, which could potentially increase the invasiveness of melanoma cancer cells. They found no evidence of increases in the risks of other forms of skin cancer.

Since the release of the findings, several product liability law firms have announced that they are now reviewing potential Viagra melanoma lawsuits on behalf of former users of the drug who have been diagnosed with this serious, and potentially deadly, form of skin cancer.

Viagra has been on the market since 1998, when it was approved by the FDA for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In 2012, the blockbuster drug raked in $2 billion in sales for Pfizer, and the findings of this study have raised questions about how the drug maker failed to detect and warn users about the potential risk of melanoma from Viagra.

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.

It appears likely that Pfizer will face Viagra lawsuits filed by men who allege that if information and warnings had been provided to consumers and the medical community, they may have avoided a diagnosis of melanoma by choosing not to use the erectile dysfunction drug or that they may have been able to catch the cancer earlier if warnings had been provided about the importance of monitoring for signs or symptoms of melamona.

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