Propecia Warnings About Sexual Complications Remain Inadequate
More than a month after we first noted that Propecia.com, a marketing website previously maintained by Merck for their blockbuster hair loss drug, was “not currently available”, the domain continues to display a place-holder page and men continue to face a risk of sexual complications as a result of inadequate Propecia warnings provided by the drug maker for consumers and the medical community.
Prior Google searches for “hair loss treatment” or for “Propecia” provided a prominent link to “Merck’s official site with information about treatment of male pattern hair loss,” with marketing materials designed to encourage men to speak with their doctor about obtaining a prescription for their Propecia medication.
However, about 45 days later, the website continues to provide no information about treatment of hair loss, and only has a few links to the current prescribing information, patient product information and links to obtain information about the Propecia Persistence Program or to request a refund for the Propecia Promise Program. The website is devoid of any marketing materials or other typical efforts by drug makers to raise awareness about their prescription medication.
Propecia (finasteride) was introduced in December 1997, and has been a blockbuster product for Merck, gaining widespread use due to aggressive direct-to-consumer advertisements.
When the Merck website was first taken down, we speculated that Merck may be preparing to finally update the drug’s warning label or possibly recall Propecia due the risk of serious and potentially permanent sexual problems, like erectile dysfunction, impotence, infertility and depression, which have impacted many former users of the drug. However, Merck continues to sell the medication with inadequate warnings about the Propecia risks.
On the current Patient Product Information (PDF), under the 8th sub-heading, for “What are the possible side effects of Propecia?”, Merck indicates (emphasis added):
A small number of men experienced certain sexual side effects. These men reported one or more of the following: less desire for sex; difficulty in achieving an erection; and, a decrease in the amount of semen. Each of these side effects occurred in less than 2% of men. These side effects went away in men who stopped taking PROPECIA. They also disappeared in most men who continued taking PROPECIA.
Although Merck is aware of a large number of post-marketing reports that suggest MANY men suffer persistent sexual complications from Propecia, they have continued to minimize the risk in warnings information provided to consumers and the medical community in the United States.
Although a Propecia recall would be a drastic option, it is questionable whether the benefits provided by the hair-loss drug outweigh ANY degree of health problems, since male pattern hair loss is not a health concern and is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
If accurate warnings are provided about Propecia’s risk of sexual complications, which can leave men with no sex life and a severely degraded quality of life, it is unlikely many men looking to restore hair loss will choose to face the risk. Any potential improvement to their quality of life that may be provided by hair growth would certainly pale in comparison to the damage that may be done from a life-time of sexual complications that may occur after taking Propecia.
PROPECIA FAILURE TO WARN LAWSUITS
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential claims for men throughout the United States who may be entitled to financial compensation through a Propecia lawsuit after experiencing sexual dysfunction from the hair loss drug. It appears likely that Merck has placed their desire for profits before the health of their consumers by minimizing the risk of erectile dysfunction or other complications of Propecia.
To review a potential case for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.