The Merck files, part 2: Merck responds to regulatory concerns about persistent adverse effects of Propecia

These documents from 2006–2009 concern Merck’s response to postmarketing reports of persistent erectile dysfunction, male infertility and depressive disorders, among other adverse events, associated with use of finasteride. In 2006, the Swedish Medical Products Agency asked Merck for an analysis of all adverse events affecting the male reproductive system which persisted after stopping Propecia. In … Read more

The Merck files, part 1: An inside look at the development of Propecia

Merck first developed finasteride for benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition typically found in men aged 55 and older. After receiving approval for the application in 1992 and bringing the drug to market as Proscar, Merck decided to seek approval of finasteride for male pattern hair loss—to be branded as Propecia. In a 1994 memo below, … Read more

The Merck files: a series

Selected documents from Propecia litigation were released by court order in 2021. This series walks through these documents, revealing Merck’s strategy for discounting safety concerns arising from clinical trials and adverse event reports. The collection is divided into three parts: 1. An inside look at the development of Propecia (1994–2001) 2. Merck responds to regulatory … Read more

Adverse effects on the Propecia label: a history of changes

In its Drugs@FDA database, FDA has at least nine versions of the Propecia label going back to 2001. This post will trace the history of changes to adverse effects in the label for consumers. A summary of label changes: 2001 – “Side effects went away in men who stopped taking Propecia” 2002 – Testicular pain … Read more