News & media coverage

See also: TimelineSources on the early history of finasterideMedical & industry news • Stories in (2012)Telehealth companies: media coverage

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Just how safe is the hair-loss drug taken by millions of men? [Podcast episode]. United Kingdom: The Mail+, Medical Minefield podcast; March 4, 2023.

Ennals E. Watchdog launches investigation into hair loss pill as men report huge rise in side effects including depression, low libido and erectile dysfunction. Daily Mail. March 4, 2023.


[Finasteride: impotence and depression from a hair growth treatment? Is that acceptable?] [Television news report]. Germany: NDR Ratgeber; October 25, 2022. German.

Linder R. Israeli victims of Propecia speak out: ‘I woke up into a nightmare’. Haaretz. September 18, 2022.

Roy S. [How boys born as girls inspired an anti-hair loss product]. Le Figaro. September 4, 2022. French.

Kaplan M. Propecia users claim drug causes memory loss, ED, suicidal thoughts. New York Post. August 10, 2022.

Linder R. [They wanted to stop baldness. It ruined their lives]. The Marker. August 5, 2022. Hebrew.

Levine D. FDA requires disclosure of suicide risk for anti-baldness drug. Reuters. June 10, 2022.


Hofer G. Suddenly bald [Television documentary]. Switzerland: NZZ Format; December 2, 2021.

Ault A. New finasteride lawsuit brings renewed attention to psychiatric, ED adverse event reports. Medscape Medical News. September 23, 2021.

Pierson B. Group sues to have hair-loss drug Propecia pulled from market. Reuters. September 8, 2021.

Tricks of the beauty industry: Propecia [Television news report]. Germany: WDR; June 30, 2021.

Ennals E. Hair loss pills taken by millions can leave men depressed, bloated and impotent: The big problem behind the slick, clever and hard to resist adverts. Daily Mail. February 27, 2021.

Levine D, Terhune C. Merck anti-baldness drug Propecia has long trail of suicide reports, records show. Reuters. February 3, 2021.

Reuters and Kekatos M. Merck KNEW its anti-baldness drug Propecia was linked to depression and reports of suicide but decided not to update the medication’s warning label, documents show. Daily Mail. February 3, 2021.

The side effects of finasteride are underestimated [Television news report]. Germany: NDR; January 26, 2021.

Levine D. Judge orders Merck documents on anti-baldness drug Propecia unsealed. Reuters. January 25, 2021.


Brown KV & De Vynck G. Hims built a $1.6 billion online empire by pushing prescriptions. Bloomberg Businessweek. October 30, 2020.

Adler DG. He became depressed and his sex drive disappeared. What was the cause? Discover. October 5, 2020.


Levine D. Reuters asks judge to release secret Propecia documents. Reuters. September 12, 2019.

Levine D. Court let Merck hide secrets about a popular drug’s risks. Reuters Investigates. September 11, 2019.

Gallagher J. Fertility paradox in male beauty quest. BBC News. May 28, 2019.

Brown KV, De Vynck G, Langreth R. Generic Viagra online sellers may not offer a great deal. Bloomberg Businessweek. May 22, 2019.

de Zwaan I. [This is a great cure for baldness (but you may lose your manhood because of it)]. de Volkskrant (Netherlands). February 15, 2019. Dutch. Print version • Digital versionEnglish translation via PFS Foundation

Is this hair-loss drug dangerous? [Television news report]. 66 Minutes; February 3, 2019. French. Subtitled video via PFS Foundation YouTube channel.

Santi P. Contre la chute des cheveux, gare au finastéride [For hair loss, avoid finasteride]. Le Monde. January 23, 2019. French. English translation via PFS Foundation.


Echchihab C, Sari E. [Finasteride, the controversial drug that health authorities continue to defend]. Le Nouvel Observateur. July 18, 2018. French.


Report on French drug regulator ASNM’s new warnings on neuropsychiatric adverse events of Propecia [Television news report]. 20 Heures – France 2. 2017. French. On PFS Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Echchihab C, Sari E. Le Propecia, ce médicament anti-chute de cheveux accusé de ruiner des vies [Propecia, the anti-hair loss drug accused of ruining lives]. L’Obs. November 13, 2017. French. English translation via PFS Foundation.

Mari E. Effets secondaires du Propecia : Marc, 45 ans, envisage de porter plainte [Side effects of Propecia: Marc, 45, plans to bring a complaint]. Le Parisien. November 8, 2017.

Mari E. Propecia: alerte sur le médicament miracle anticalvitie [Propecia: alert on the anti-baldness miracle drug]. Le Parisien. November 8, 2017. French.

Topol S. Sons and daughters: the village where girls turn into boys. Harper’s. August 2017.

Fox M. Hair loss drug Propecia carries risk of losing something else. NBC News. March 10, 2017.

Horovitz B. President Trump and I take the same drugs — except Propecia. Chicago Tribune. March 7, 2017.

Grady D. Trump takes the hair-growth drug Propecia. How does it work? New York Times. February 3, 2017.


Report on the suicide of PFS patient Romain Mathieu [Television news report]. France 5: Santé: The magazine for health; November 24, 2016.

Dye J. MDL judge sends Propecia case back to state court. Westlaw News via Reuters. June 23, 2016.

The wonderhair pill [Television news report]. Belgium: Koppen – VRT-TV; May 26, 2016.


Mosley M. The extraordinary case of the Guevedoces. BBC News. September 20, 2015.

Goussinsky E. Jovem toma remédio para calvície e vive drama: “Meu órgão sexual ficou menor de quando eu era criança” [Young man takes medicine for baldness and lives drama: “My sexual organ got smaller than when I was a child”]. R7 (Brazil). July 29, 2015. Portuguese.

How one man said hair loss drug ruined his life [Television news report]. Richmond, VA: WTVR CBS 6; May 1, 2015.


Payne E. ‘Hair loss pills made my penis shrink’: Man ends up in psychiatric unit after becoming severely depressed about the side-effects. Daily Mail. June 24, 2014.


Goldberg K. Men say hair loss drug causes sexual problems and depression. KPBS Evening Edition (San Diego, CA). May 17, 2013.

Goldberg K. Sexual problems sometimes irreversible side effect of hair loss drug Propecia [Television news report]. San Diego, CA: KPBS Evening Edition; May 17, 2013.

Hsieh S. Propecia litigation picks up momentum. Lawyers USA. April 4, 2013. At Wisconsin Law Journal.


See also: A pivotal year: stories on Propecia effects and lawsuits in (2012)

Former finasteride users who have sexual side effects at increased risk for depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts. Drug Topics. October 15, 2012; 156(10): 46.

Silver M. Hair-loss drug a downer in the bedroom. Sydney Morning Herald. September 27, 2012.

Enck P, Häuser W. Beware the nocebo effect. New York Times. August 12, 2012.

CNN. Man says Propecia made him impotent. [Television news report]. CNN Weekend Shows; August 5, 2012.

Edelman S. Software engineer claims generic version of Propecia turned him into a woman. New York Post. July 22, 2012.

Abrams L. Calm down: Propecia probably isn’t causing your erectile dysfunction. The Atlantic. July 13, 2012.

Propecia hidden risk? Propecia linked to long-term sexual dysfunction [Television news report]. NBC Tonight; July 13, 2012 [date of YouTube video; broadcast date not provided].

Propecia linked to sexual side effects [Television news report]. ABC World News; July 12, 2012.

Report links hair loss drug with sexual dysfunction [Television news report]. NBC Today; July 12, 2012.

Sifferlin A. Propecia problems: Baldness drug linked with long-lasting sexual side effects. TIME. July 12, 2012.

Suicide victim’s family blames Merck’s hair loss drug. NJ Press Media (?), a Gannett Company (New Jersey); May 22, 2012.

Jaslow R. FDA adds sexual side effects warning to baldness drug Propecia. CBS News. April 13, 2012.

Sifferlin A. FDA adds sexual side effects to Propecia and Proscar labels. TIME. 13 April 2012.

Linder R. Bald assertions: touted ‘effectiveness’ in campaign refers to the ad, not the product. Haaretz. January 10, 2012.


Williams Adams R. Lawsuit: Man wanted hair, lost sex drive. The Ledger (Lakeland, FL). May 16, 2011.

Mother Blames Son’s Death On Popular Hair Loss Drug. CBS News Miami. May 12, 2011.

Williams Adams R. Man wanted hair, but got the side effects, lawsuit says. The Ledger (Lakeland, FL). May 14, 2011.

Baillon J. Hair today, what’s gone tomorrow? [Television news report]. Minneapolis, MN: FOX 9 Investigators; May 5, 2011.

Stahl S. Health watch: popular drug warning [Television news report]. CBS 3 Philadelphia; May 3, 2011.

Edwards J. Merck warned Europe that Propecia causes sexual problems — but not the U.S. CBS News: Moneywatch. March 22, 2011.

Reinberg S. Sexual side effects from Propecia, Avodart may be irreversible. USA TODAY. March 11, 2011.

Buck R. Lawsuit blames hair loss drug for sexual dysfunction and mental problems. Hartford Courant. March 3, 2011.

Edwards J. Why Merck’s hair loss drug could make its income statement go, um, limp. CBS News: Moneywatch. January 13, 2011.


Mundie S. Baldness drug Propecia ‘risking men’s sexual health’. BBC News. December 21, 2010.

Related radio story: Propecia Risks Long-Term Impotence – BBC Radio 1 (via YouTube)

Baldness remedies. Consumer Reports. May 2010. Related press release via PR Newswire


Propecia / finasteride: Permanent side effects official in EU [Television news report]. Sweden: [Organization not indicated]; August 2009.


Schieszer J. Propecia, infertility link suspected. Renal & Urology News. January 1, 2008.


Permanent sexual side effects of Propecia / finasteride [Television documentary] [Official title unknown]. Sweden: [Producer unknown]; 2007.


Conis E. The case of the ex-girls. Los Angeles Times. October 16, 2006.

Local wins push Saatchis to top spot. Media: Asia’s Media & Marketing Newspaper. March 2006:6. [Summary below]


Silverthorne S. Side effects: the case of Propecia. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. November 22, 2004.

Hurley D. Weighing the risks of new plumage. New York Times. June 15, 2004.


Do we need lifestyle drugs? BBC News. January 3, 2003.


Keller-Henman N. Hair loss, internet gain. Chemist & Druggist. August 24, 2002; 257(6356): 25.

UK launch for baldness pill. BBC News. March 4, 2002.


Taylor A. Limiting fallout. Fortune. January 7, 2002; 145(1): 31.

Mand A. Rogaine’s loss is Propecia’s gain(e). Advertising Age. July 16, 2001; 72(29):37. [Summary below]

Baldness pill ‘passing early tests’. BBC News. June 11, 2001.


Goetzl D. Propecia aims $2 mil push at gay men. Advertising Age. March 20, 2000; 71(12):8. [Summary below]

Bill and Maureen would like their sex life back. CHOICE (Australia). March 2000.

O’Neil J. VITAL SIGNS: THERAPIES; Expert advice to bald men: Get over it. New York Times. January 25, 2000.


Baldness ‘cure’ by-passes NHS. BBC News. October 25, 1999.

Goetzl D. Merck DTC pharmacy circular ads break new ground. Advertising Age. September 27, 1999; 70(40):10. [Summary below]

Downey M. Me, need Propecia? A baldfaced lie. Los Angeles Times. April 4, 1999.

Pear R. Drug companies getting F.D.A. reprimands for false or misleading advertising. New York Times. March 28, 1999.

Morrow DJ. New profits in old bottles; Companies find bonus in drugs that cure several ills. New York Times. March 19, 1999.

Genaro E. Bad consumer. Brandweek. March 15, 1999; 40(11):46.

Dickinson JG. DTC boosts Propecia sales. Medical Marketing & Media. 1999; 34(1):40.


Herman R. The ‘lifestyle’ phenomenon: pills to enhance well-being. New York Times. November 18, 1998.

Freudenheim M. THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Influencing doctor’s orders. New York Times. November 17, 1998.

Morrow DJ. The elixirs of life style; Drugs can spark sex lives and grow hair, so why are some sales listless. New York Times. November 11, 1998.

Villarosa L. RX MONEY; Remedies for hair loss. New York Times. October 20, 1998.

Dickinson JG. Merck’s Propecia ad is ‘misleading.’ Medical Marketing & Media. June 1998; 33(6):36. [Summary below]

Hickman B. Men wise up to bald truth. The Australian. May 21, 1998; 4.

Nuland S. Ideas & Trends: The rush to enhancement; Medicine isn’t just for the sick anymore. New York Times. May 10, 1998.

Wilke M. Merck kicks off $60 mil DTC push for Rogaine rival. Advertising Age. April 20, 1998; 69(16):4. [Summary below]

Seo D. Ads push to make balding men’s loss industry’s gain. Los Angeles Times. January 29, 1998.

Morrow DJ. New baldness drug is older product at a premium price. New York Times. January 20, 1998.

Room at the top? Propecia and Rogaine fight to fill it. Medical Marketing & Media. January 1998;33(1):6. [Summary below]


Barron J. Head Games; A pill threatens a growth industry. New York Times. December 28, 1997.

Rampe D. Diary: Tossing that toupee. New York Times. December 28, 1997.

Langreth R. Merck’s approval for baldness pill starts sales battle with Pharnacia. Wall Street Journal. December 23, 1997.

Stolberg SG. A pill for male pattern baldness wins approval from the F.D.A.
New York Times. December 23, 1997.

Langreth R. Merck readies a media blitz for its new pill. Wall Street Journal. December 19, 1997.

Panel finds Merck’s Propecia effective, but not approvable. Medical Marketing & Media. December 1997; 32(12):26. [Summary below]

Wilke M. Rogaine extension, new Propecia heat up hair restorer market. Advertising Age. December 1, 1997; 68(48):18.

Gone today, hair tomorrow? Newsweek. November 24, 1997; 130(21):61.

Langreth R. Government panel discusses Merck’s drug for baldness. Wall Street Journal. November 14, 1997.

Tanouye E, Langreth R. Top firms must prepare for onslaught of generics. Wall Street Journal. August 12, 1997.

Langreth R. How a prostate drug became a new treatment for baldness. Wall Street Journal. March 20, 1997.


Meredith R. 2 drug companies name agencies. New York Times. October 9, 1996.

Hotline. Adweek Eastern Edition. December 7, 1996; 37(41):6. [Excerpt below]

Tanouye E. FDA says 214 men using drug, Proscar, develop a side effectWall Street Journal. September 12, 1996.


Freudenheim M. Proscar will likely be a billion-dollar megadrug. But what is the encore? Keeping the pipeline filled at Merck. New York Times. February 16, 1992.

See also: Sources on the early history of finasteride


Source: EBSCO Business Source Complete database

Local wins…, 2006: …McCann Erickson massive Merck Propecia win kept it in the number two slot…

Mand, 2001: The article reports that hair loss, asthma and arthritis pain medications are the leading pharmaceutical products being advertised on the Internet… Merck and Co.’s Propecia hair-loss treatment is the top advertiser…

Goetzl, 2000: This article focuses on the utilization of specific gay men-targeted creative…by pharmaceutical marketer Merck & Co. Inc. in the U.S. The estimated 2.5 million to 2 million U.S. dollar campaign from Prime Access Inc. in New York City features a print advertisement of two men during a close moment. The advertisements will run nationally in gay men-targeted publications The Advocate, Genre, Hero and Out and in local publications in the 10 markets with the largest gay populations. The campaign includes an online component which will appear on Web sites such as…

Goetzl, 1999: This article looks at the direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisement for the anti-hair loss drug Propecia from pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. in the U.S. in October 1999. Sav-Mor Franchising, which operates a chain of 72 drugstores in Michigan, will launch a program on October 4 that will allow marketers to run a DTC print advertisement in the circulars it sends home to potential shoppers and distributes in its stores… The idea is to capitalize people’s trust in their pharmacist.

Dickinson, 1998: Reports that [FDA’s] Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications (DDMAC) has stated that the Merck company’s print advertisement for Propecia, its hair growth pill, is misleading.

Wilke, 1998: Reports that Merck & Co. launched an estimated $50 million to $60 million direct-to-consumer advertising campaign for…Propecia in April 1998. The brand’s competition with Rogaine; Details of advertisements being used in the campaign; Statistics regarding sales of over-the-counter hair loss treatments.

Room at the top…, 1998: Focuses on the promotional campaigns for Pharmacia & Upjohn’s Rogaine and Merck & Co.’s Propecia, both used for the treatment of hair loss. Use of candid testimonials by top-ranked, low-hair-density sport figures in Rogaine’ promotional campaign; Effectiveness of both products in only a portion of men; Use of the product for several months before results appear.

Panel finds Merck’s Propecia.., 1997: Reports that a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert committee agreed on the effectiveness of Propecia or finesteride in restoring hair growth and preventing further hair loss. Expectation on FDA’s approval of the drug for men, but not for women and children.

Hotline, 1996: Merck & Co. in Whitehouse Station, N.J., awarded its estimated $20 million account for Propecia, a hair restorative product, to Young & Rubicam, New York, sources said.