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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal Melanoma from Viagra

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Pfizer faces a lawsuit over the death of an Indiana man, which indicates that he developed a fatal case of melanoma skin cancer caused by side effects of Viagra

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Dianne Parish in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on September 9, alleging that the drug maker’s failure to warn about the risk of melanoma from Viagra caused the death of Rex Parish.

The wrongful death lawsuit indicates that Rex Parish began taking Viagra for treatment of erectile dysfunction in July 2007, and continued to use the drug until about June 2013. Dianne Parish claims that use of the medication caused or instigated the growth of cancerous melanoma cells, resulting in metastatic lesions in the brain and a pleural-based mass in one lung, which was diagnosed in August 2013.

Rex Parish died a little over one year later in September 2014 of malignant melanoma complications, and the lawsuit alleges that the death could have been avoided if Pfizer has provided warnings for consumers and the medical community about the potential link between Viagra and melanoma.

The case joins dozens of other Viagra melanoma lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, which have been consolidated in the Northern District of California for pretrial proceedings, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. Many of the cases involve wrongful deaths, as melanoma is a particularly aggressive and life-threatening form of skin cancer.

Since its approval, Viagra has been prescribed to an estimated 35 million men, and is widely marketed direct-to-consumers, encouraging men to ask their doctors for a prescription if they have trouble obtaining or maintaining an erection.

While the medication is generally believed to be safe by most users and doctors, independent studies released in recent years have found a melanoma risk with Viagra, suggesting that the erectile dysfunction drug may reduce the body’s ability to resist the spread of the skin cancer.

“Had Defendant properly disclosed the melanoma-related risks associated with Viagra, Plaintiff would have avoided the risk of developing melanoma by not using Viagra at all; severely limiting the dosage and length of its use; and/or more closely monitoring the degree to which Viagra was adversely affecting his health,” the lawsuit filed on behalf of Rex Parish states.

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