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Medicine Science

Merck's Drug Propecia Linked To Sexual Dysfunction 235

zaxios writes "Merck — the pharmaceutical giant previously featured on Slashdot for drawing up a 'hit list' of doctors that criticized its drug Vioxx, and creating a fake medical journal to endorse its products — is embroiled in a new scandal. USA Today is reporting on two new studies that show Propecia, Merck's $250 million prescription medication for baldness, can make men irreversibly impotent. Lawsuits have been filed in the United States and Canada from men claiming to have permanently lost their sexual function after taking the drug. All this is reminiscent of Merck's difficulties with Vioxx, a once $2.5-billion-a-year drug, which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke in users."
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Merck's Drug Propecia Linked To Sexual Dysfunction

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2011 @02:20AM (#35765742)
    ...Propecia is an anti-androgen! Duh.
  • Nah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @02:23AM (#35765754) Homepage

    Self-confidence, social ability, and how you dress are more important than your hair.

  • hmmm. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2011 @02:39AM (#35765800)

    the moral is, don't mess with your health if you can avoid it. we just don't know enough yet.....

  • This is the correct answer.

    Anyone that doesn't understand this shit should be suing their doctor for not telling them, not the drug company.

  • Informed Consent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @06:23AM (#35766434) Homepage Journal

    Really needs to DIAF. I mean sure, if the drug company lies? Bust their asses, shut them down. but too many drugs, drugs that can save lives and make folks lives better, are being taken off the market not by lies but by douches that don't follow directions and that is total bullshit! If my doc explains the pros and cons of a drug and I agree to take it it should be between my doc and myself not some ambulance chasing scumbag!

    Your story is an excellent case for the policy of informed consent. As long as everyone knows what the risks are, people should be free to take the drugs.

    Who cares if Vioxx increased your chance of a heart attack by a small amount? ("Doubling" the risk is much scarier than saying it raises your risk by 1% or whatever.) If the patient UNDERSTANDS the risk, and no better drugs exist, he should be able to take his Vioxx or whatever. It's called a black-label warning, and the FDA does it all the time. But nothing helps if the drug gets pulled off the market.

    I know about this, because my landlord at the time (an old Korean war vet) suffered excruciating pain from arthritis in his spine. He started on Vioxx and became a functional individual again. When they pulled it from the market, it was like literally chopping his legs off. Not one other painkiller really worked for him, except morphine. So he was put on morphine, and spent 17 hours a day sleeping. I asked him if he'd trade a 1% chance of a heart attack in exchange for getting his life back, and his response was something along the lines of "Yes, in a second. I spend all day sleeping now - I'd like to have my life back, even if it means a slight risk."

    Naderites love to claim that their lawsuits keep the evil big corporations in line, not thinking about the harm they cause to the little guys.

    Of course, after the whole Vioxx debacle played out, they found that all COX-blockers increase the risk of heart problems (due to shared receptors, IIRC, on the heart). But other companies just slapped a black-label warning on their Celebrex or whatever, and kept selling it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2011 @06:44AM (#35766486)

    When it costs a company nothing to push a liability waiver under your nose before rendering services, pretty soon everyone wants a blank check before they'll sell you groceries. If everyone wants a blank check, the blank check loses it's meaning.

    Meanwhile, it costs politicians and marketers nothing to sell you on a feeling of safety.

    The two combine to form a society of people emotionally incapable of making & keeping contracts. They sign the liability waivers and they probably mean it the first 100 times, but after that, they start to get used to there being no consequences or risks and don't take them seriously. Then, when something bad happens, they sue because they feel like the risk or danger wasn't emphasized strongly enough. They feel deceived.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @09:14AM (#35766852) Homepage
    The problem wasn't so much that Vioxx slightly increased one's risk of heart attacks - it was that Merck hid data, went on an insane advertising campaign calling it a 'super aspirin' and tried to sell it to everyone and their dog. We have much more dangerous medications that we use all of the time but are (supposedly) treated with more respect. We did throw the baby out with the bath on this one. But remember it wasn't the FDA that banned Vioxx - Merck pulled it from the market.

    In that mythical pony-and-unicorn world of Steve Jobs and our dreams, the FDA would have forced Merck to sell rights to the drug to someone else who could act in a more responsible fashion.

    And yes, Celebrex is just about as bad for cardiac risk and doesn't work as well. Newsflash: Drugs are dangerous.

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