Sales of Propecia have dropped significantly compared to this same time last year and the company which makes it is facing more legal trouble over its dangerous side effects than in 2011.
According to an Examiner.com report, sales of Propecia have dropped just more than 10 percent since last year to $100 million in the second quarter. At the same time, the number of lawsuits filed by or on behalf of men who suffered serious side effects linked to the male-pattern baldness drug have risen dramatically.
In the last year, a wealth of information has been published highlighting the permanent dangers taking Propecia can cause, including permanent sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction and a decreased sex drive. More recent studies have shown that these side effects, or the drug itself, can cause severe depression and bring about suicidal thoughts in men who believe their side effects will remain permanent.
At this time last year, Merck & Co. was facing a total of 80 lawsuits filed on behalf of 175 men who had suffered side effects from taking Propecia (finsateride). Currently, according to the same report, the company faces a total number of 200 lawsuits on behalf of 325 men.
Those lawsuits allege Merck is intentionally hiding the true dangers of Propecia, especially in the U.S. where safety label information differs from that seen around the world. While the domestic labeling does indicate Propecia could cause sexual side effects, it also states that these side effects will go away after a person stops taking the drug.
However, in foreign markets, Merck indicates in its safety information that some cases of sexual dysfunction caused by Propecia are permanent. Recent studies show that more than just some cases of sexual dysfunction are permanent among men taking Propecia. A pair of recent studies that included more than 200 men in total showed that more than half of those taking Propecia that had experienced some form of sexual dysfunction were affected by those symptoms after a year off the drug, indicating their side effects were permanent. Additionally, many of those men who were suffering from permanent sexual dysfunction had also reported feeling severely depressed, some to the point of contemplating suicide.
Sales may continue to decline as the news headlines involving the drug remain negative. More men are becoming aware of the dangers really posed by their baldness drug, even though they were never really warned of these dangers by their physician or from reading the drug’s safety information.
Efforts are afoot in the U.S. to have Merck forced to change the safety information included with the drug to indicate its true dangers of permanent sexual dysfunction and severe depression caused by experiencing those symptoms.