On September 9, 2014, a former Propecia user commenced a civil lawsuit against the maker of the drug Merck & Co., Inc. alleging that the company failed to warn consumers of the potentially-deadly side effects of the prescription hair loss medication.
The action was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and referred to as a matter related to ongoing Propecia multidistrict litigation.
The plaintiff, who is a male, alleges alarming side effects to the drug, including the development of breast tissue (also known as gynecomastia), which eventually led to a diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent mastectomy.
The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages for his injuries; special damages to cover future rehabilitation, lost income, permanent disability, and pain and suffering; punitive damages to compensate for the reckless acts of the defendant; double or triple damages as allowed by law; attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.
Details of Propecia breast cancer lawsuit
According to the factual allegations set forth in the complaint, plaintiff was just 26 years old when prescribed Propecia for his hair loss. He took the drug from 2003 through 2010. In addition to the development of breasts, the plaintiff alleges he has suffered from sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction.
The plaintiff alleges eight counts against Merck as a result of his diminished quality of life, including:
The Propecia product was unreasonably dangerous and defective when marketed by Merck, particularly in light of the inadequate warning label which fails to mention the risk of developing breast cancer;
Merck failed to uphold its duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to adequately design, test, and market Propecia to consumers;
Breach of Implied Warranties:
Merck breached the implied warranty in any consumer transaction that its Propecia product was safe and fit for its intended purpose;
Breach of Express Warranties:
Merck expressly warranted the safety of the drug, especially while touting the product to doctors and medical professionals;
Merck was aware that Propecia could cause breast cancer and sexual dysfunction, but failed to reveal this fact to consumers during its “aggressive marketing strategies.”
Deceptive Trade Practices:
Merck has engaged in the intentional deception of consumers by using fraudulent and misleading tactics in marketing and distributing Propecia;
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress:
Merck’s negligence has caused the plaintiff to endure a disruptive and painful emotional reaction;
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress:
Merck intentionally harmed plaintiff – and other consumers – by marketing a product known to cause breast cancer or sexual dysfunction, resulting in inevitable emotional turmoil for victims.
Problems with Propecia side effects
Propecia, also known by the generic name finasteride, has been targeted by the FDA over the years and mandated to update its labeling to reflect certain possible risks associated with the drug.
In June 2011, the FDA warned users that finasteride could cause an increased risk of prostate cancer in men 55 and over with an otherwise normal prostate examination and baseline.
On April 11, 2012, the FDA revealed updates to the Propecia label, including information related to libido disorders, decreased libido, male infertility, poor semen quality, ejaculation disorders and orgasm disorders – some of which were reported to continue after discontinuation of the drug.
In January, 2014, the FDA released additional information about Propecia possibly causing allergic reactions including rash, itching, hives and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face.