Propecia (finasteride) was approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness over 20 years ago. In that time, there have been thousands of men who complain of persistent side effects after stopping the medication. So many men have complained that the FDA forced Merck, the pharmaceutical company to include persistent side effects on their label. However, there has been a shocking discovery that has many questioning whether Merck was aware of the persistent side effects, even worse did they try to keep it a secret? Keep reading.
Suicide Thought To Be Connected To Propecia
Kelly Pffaf filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Merck back in 2015 for the death of her husband John. John Pfaff began taking Propecia to treat hair loss in 2008, but stopped taking the drug after experiencing terrible side effects in 2012. John was a father, husband and a successful executive according to reports. However, Kelly began noticing a change in John's behavior after taking the drug.
Kelly noticed that John was always in a dark mood and developed chronic depression, she also noted that he had lost interest in sex. This prompted her to assume he was having an affair, but when confronted John replied "no, somethings not right down there". John began to suffer from panic attacks, insomnia and suicidal ideations.
On March 05, 2013, John stepped onto the rail road tracks near his house, he was hit by an Amtrak and killed instantly. Kelly has blamed Merck for the death of her husband at the young age of 40. In her lawsuit she claims that Merck knew that Propecia caused persistent side effects, but kept it concealed from the public. Kelly isn't alone her lawsuit is just one of 1,100 filed across the United States.
Merck denied allegations in court filings and declined to comment regarding any specific case. However, confidential documents were reviewed and it was discovered that some details were redacted on the original label in 1997. The documents were filed under seal or heavily redacted by Merck's lawyers. Merck marked the documents confidential when they shared them with Pfaff's lawyers. Allegedly Judge Brian Cogan allowed these secrets to be kept out of public view.
Not The First Time Merck Caught Lying
Federal Judge Beth Labson Freeman of San Jose found that Merck lied to their business partners and the court back in 2016. This was concerning one of the most profitable drugs on the market Solvadi, a treatment for the Heptatitis C virus.
Judge Beth Labson Freeman stated that:
"Merck's misconduct includes..misusing Pharmasset's confidential information, and lying under oath and trial."
This case raises more than questions about Merck's integrity, it shows that patent inspectors can be misled by applicants. Judge Beth Labson Freeman found that Merck lied in patent trials, and overturned the 200 million dollar verdict.
The allegations made by Kelly Pfaff's lawyers haven't been proven in a court of law. However, given Merck's checkered past, it's hard to make a compelling counter-argument in their favor. The fact is that finasteride has been proven to give persistent side effects, but the reasons remain unknown. Still, the majority of men who take finasteride tolerate the drug with little to no side effects. Unfortunately, for some the drug can be detrimental to their sexual health and mental state.
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