A lawsuit has been filed against Merck, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaint alleges that the drug manufacturer warned European users that the drug Propecia may cause sexual problems in men, but did not provide American users the same warning.
According to the complaint, plaintiffs were prescribed Propecia to combat male pattern hair loss, and they suffered serious sexual dysfunction.
The lawsuit alleges that the warnings about the risk of sexual problems from Propecia differed significantly in Europe from the label warnings to users of Propecia in the U.S.
In Europe, Propecia labels stating that erectile dysfunction problems may persist after the patient discontinues use treatment with Propecia were added in 2008.
Propecia (finasteride) was approved in 1992 for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, and also is approved to treat male pattern baldness.
Last month researchers from the U.S. published a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found side effects of Propecia were linked to sexual problems in men. Researchers indicated that the class of drugs known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can cause loss of libido, depression erectile dysfunction, reduced semen production and growth of male breast tissue.
The lawsuit over Propecia charges Merck with negligence, failure to warn, strict product liability, and breach of warranty.
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