It’s not uncommon for men to lose their hair gradually as they age. By 35, about two-thirds of American men will have some degree of hair loss, and by 55, about 85 percent of them will have a significantly sparser coif. While a number of factors influence precisely when and how quickly hair will thin, almost all cases of male baldness are attributed to an inherited trait called androgenetic alopecia.
Although hair loss is perfectly natural, it’s not uncommon for those who are experiencing it to feel incredibly self-conscious. As such, men are often willing to go to extreme measures to restore their once thick and luscious locks. Unfortunately, one such measure, a medication called Propecia, appears to do more harm than good.
If you or your partner developed erectile dysfunction, infertility, severe depression, or some other complication after taking Propecia, you may be entitled to compensation. To see if you have grounds for a claim, fill out our form: we’ll review your claim and connect you with a local attorney who can help.
- What Is Propecia?
- What Should I Do if I Have Been Affected by Propecia?
- How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Propecia Lawsuit?
- How Does a Propecia Lawsuit Work?
- Do I Need Legal Counsel to Join a Propecia Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Propecia Lawsuit?
- What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Propecia Lawsuit?
- How Much Can You Recover From a Propecia Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Receive the Funds After Resolving a Lawsuit?
- Final Thoughts
What Is Propecia?
Propecia is the brand name of a medication that’s prescribed to treat male pattern baldness.
Most men lose their hair over time because of a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of testosterone. When exposed to DHT, the hair follicles that are sensitive to it will shrink over time. This shortens their lifespan until they eventually stop producing new growth altogether.
Propecia, which contains the active ingredient finasteride, works by blocking the production of DHT. Available in 1 mg tablets, this drug is manufactured by Merck & Co. Inc. One of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, they earned $40 billion in revenue in 2017 alone.
Like many drugs, Propecia has the potential to cause serious negative side effects. The most common issues caused by the drug harming sexual function. Since consumers believe Merck & Co. Inc. did not adequately warn them or their providers of such risks, however, more than 1,000 product liability cases have been brought against the manufacturer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Propecia for the treatment of male pattern baldness in 1997. The same formula was also approved in 1992 under the name Proscar for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is characterized by an enlarged prostate.
In 2012, the FDA announced changes it would be making to the labels of both drugs. After reviewing hundreds of reports detailing sexual dysfunction among those who took finasteride, the agency forced the manufacturer to update the labels to warn doctors and patients of these potential side effects.
It’s worth noting that Merck & Co. Inc. updated the Swedish labels to include warnings about the potential for sexual dysfunction in 2008—but failed to do so worldwide. Naturally, this action didn’t help patients in the U.S.
Researchers Begin Linking Propecia to Sexual Dysfunction
Merck & Co. Inc. knew their finasteride formula had the potential to cause sexual dysfunction from day one because of the way in which the drug affects hormone levels. However, they maintained that any such complications were temporary. When consumers reported prolonged sexual side effects even after stopping their use of the medication, Merck & Co. Inc. remained firm in their stance that the complications were not permanent.
Such complications included:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Diminished sexual sensation
- Genital shrinkage
- Decreased libido
- Reduced ejaculation volume
- Cognitive impairment
Some patients have also alleged that Propecia caused their testicular, prostate, or male breast cancer.
Regulators in Sweden started investigating claims of persistent complications in 2006, which is what prompted Merck & Co. Inc. to update the Swedish labels two years later. Americans continued taking Propecia for another four years, though, before the FDA stepped in.
Patients Begin Filing Propecia Lawsuits
By the time Merck & Co. Inc. was forced to update their American labels in 2012, men across the country had already started filing suits against the pharmaceutical giant. In April of that year, many of the federal suits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New York. MDLs aim to streamline legal proceedings by grouping suits with the same allegations into a single action against the same defendant.
Hundreds of suits were also filed in the state of New Jersey, which is where Merck & Co. Inc. is headquartered. The New Jersey Supreme Court stepped in to manage all such actions.
Verdicts & Settlements Awarded
By 2018, Merck & Co. Inc. had agreed to pay out almost $4.3 million to settle more than 500 Propecia-related actions. At that time, there remained more than a thousand active cases that had yet to be resolved. And as of 2019, ten suits were still pending in the federal MDL.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Affected by Propecia?
If you or your partner has developed sexual dysfunction, severe depression, or cognitive impairment and you think Propecia is to blame, fill out our form as soon as possible. After reviewing your claim we will connect you with a reputable product liability lawyer who can evaluate the situation and help you determine whether taking action could be worthwhile.
To prepare for your initial consultation with a strategic attorney, gather all relevant medical records. It’s also advisable to start a journal if you haven’t already. Write about the ways in which the complications are hurting your overall quality of life.
How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Propecia Lawsuit?
The easiest way to determine if you have grounds for a suit against Merck & Co. Inc. is by consulting a lawyer. Since every case is unique, there’s no single “test” you can take to see if you qualify to be part of an MDL.
Thankfully, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and offer free initial case reviews. That means you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by reaching out to a seasoned professional.
How Does a Propecia Lawsuit Work?
Every Propecia lawsuit starts with gathering evidence of liability and damages. In order to recover a payout, you’ll have to prove that you took Propecia as instructed, that you were not adequately informed of its potential side effects, and that you suffered complications.
To start the process of finding a lawyer who can help with all of the above, fill out our form. Once you and your legal team build a strong case against Merck & Co. Inc., a demand letter will be sent requesting compensation. Should they challenge your claim, which is likely, you will have to file a formal complaint against them in a court of law. This will commence litigation.
The first stage of litigation is discovery. During this stage, both the plaintiff and defendant conduct their own investigations.
Mediation typically follows. During mediation, the parties attempt to arrive at a satisfactory settlement. Depending on the strength of the evidence that comes to light during discovery, the defendant may be inclined to negotiate.
If they do not, the case will proceed to trial, where a judge will determine a verdict. If the verdict is in the plaintiff’s favor, the judge will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff a specific dollar amount to make up for the damages incurred.
Do I Need Legal Counsel to Join a Propecia Lawsuit?
While it’s possible to represent yourself during legal proceedings, doing so is inadvisable. After all, Merck & Co. Inc. has the resources to challenge every claim that comes their way. Should you go up against them unprepared, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a denial and lose all financial recourse.
By filling out our form and connecting with a resourceful attorney, on the other hand, you’ll be able to put together a case that can’t be ignored.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Propecia Lawsuit?
The costs associated with diagnosing and treating the kinds of complications that Propecia causes can add up fast. As such, you may be hoping for a prompt payout.
Unfortunately, there’s really no way to predict the total duration of any given claim or even to speed up the proceedings. While you can take steps to prevent unnecessary delays, much of the logistics will be out of your hands, especially if you end up going to trial. In such a scenario, you’ll be at the whim of the court.
As long as you hire a reputable lawyer, though, you will remain informed every step of the way. This alone can relieve a considerable amount of stress while waiting for your case to be resolved.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Propecia Lawsuit?
Should you and Merck & Co. Inc. be unable to arrive at a satisfactory settlement, you’ll have a limited amount of time to proceed to court. Every state has strict filing deadlines for product liability suits.
Called statutes of limitations, these deadlines typically range from one to six years. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the applicable deadline has passed, the judge will likely dismiss your case, taking away your right to compensation in the process.
How Much Can You Recover From a Propecia Lawsuit?
Product liability suits can yield settlements that range from thousands of dollars to millions. If you have grounds for a claim, whether you’ll be entitled to a five-, six-, or seven-figure payout will depend on a variety of factors. Examples include the severity of the complications you suffered and the strength of the evidence you present.
How Long Does It Take to Receive the Funds After Resolving a Lawsuit?
If your Propecia lawsuit proves successful, you can expect to receive the funds you’re due within several weeks. In most cases, the defendant gives the compensation to the plaintiff’s attorney, who will take care of all pending obligations, like health insurance liens and legal fees, before releasing the remaining funds to the client. This ensures the plaintiff doesn’t spend any money that’s not actually theirs.
If you took Propecia and ended up developingserious side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. To determine the most strategic way to proceed with a claim against Merck & Co. Inc., fill out our form. We’ll evaluate your claim and connect you with a local attorney who has the knowledge, experience, and resources to see your case through to the end.