January 23, 2013 — According to recent court documents, at least 390 plaintiffs have filed a Propecia lawsuit in either state or federal court, and the litigation is still growing. The plaintiffs accuse Merck & Co., the drug-maker behind Propecia, of failing to warn about side effects that may persist long after Propecia is discontinued. Some of the most debilitating complications include sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment, depression leading to suicidal behavior, and physical changes such as gynecomastia (growth of male breast tissue).
There are currently two locations where most of the litigation is centralized. The federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which was created in April 2012, contains 139 lawsuits. The MDL is located in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, where Judge John Gleeson presides. Another 251 Propecia lawsuits are centralized in state court in New Jersey — the same state where Merck is headquartered.
In the last few months, new lawsuits have been filed into the federal MDL at a consistent pace. In December 2012, a Florida man with persistent sexual and psychological disorders filed a lawsuit. The man started taking Propecia in September 2009, when he was 29 years old. He alleges that his conditions began while he was taking Propecia and continued after he stopped the drug.
In November 2012, a Propecia lawsuit was filed by a man who took the drug from 2003 until 2007 and now suffers from persistent sexual dysfunction. One month earlier, in October 2012, another plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that Propecia is responsible for his persistent sexual dysfunction. The man used Propecia from May 2000 until November 2011.
Many are concerned about the growing evidence linking Propecia to long-term sexual, physical, and psychological disorders. In April 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about persistent erectile dysfunction, orgasm disorders, ejaculation disorders, and decreased libido. Several recent studies have also linked Propecia to debilitating long-term complications. One study, published in August 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that men who reported persistent sexual dysfunction also reported high rates of depression. Other studies suggest that “persistent” sexual dysfunction may actually be permanent in some cases.