Protester Suffering Erectile Dysfunction, Career Loss, Breakup with Fiancee, Requests Other Propecia Victims to Join Him In Protest.
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., May 16, 2012
A 30-year-old Las Vegas man whose life was devastated by Propecia has launched a hunger
strike at Merck & Co.'s corporate headquarters, in protest of the pharmaceutical giant's failure
to acknowledge the hair-loss drug's role in causing a battery of persistent side effects, including sexual dysfunction.
Kevin Malley, a former public-health researcher from Las Vegas, who flew to New Jersey from
his hometown on May 10, ceased eating on May 13 at 3 p.m., and plans to continue going
without food indefinitely while camped across from One Merck Drive.
"I want Merck to see how their drug is destroying lives—and know that I'm just one of thousands
of victims suffering across the globe," said Malley, who was prescribed Propecia last year by
his doctor, and took the controversial medication for five months until suffering complete erectile
dysfunction and loss of libido last winter.
"Even now, eight months after quitting Propecia, my sexual dysfunction has not resolved itself,"
added Malley. "I also suffered severe memory loss and disorientation, which made it nearly
impossible to concentrate on my work."
As a result of his physical and psychological ailments, Malley resigned from his research
position late last year. He has since taken a job as a waiter at a Las Vegas restaurant to make
Meanwhile, he and his fiancee broke off their engagement when she learned that his sexual
side effects appear to be permanent. And while trying to come to grips with his condition, Malley
came across Propeciahelp.com, a support group for men suffering from persistent finasteride
side effects. There, he encountered many other men suffering similar fates long after quitting
Malley has reported his case to the Food and Drug Administration via its MedWatch program.
And in January he called Merck's Adverse Reporting hotline (800-444-2080), but the company,
which enjoys annual Propecia sales of more than $440 million, told him, "We don't have any
answers for you right now," he said.
Known clinically as "Post-Finasteride Syndrome" (and so called for Propecia's generic name,
finasteride), the condition is marked by sexual, neurological, hormonal and physical side
effects—including impotence, Peyronie's disease, testosterone deficiency and depression—that
do not resolve themselves after quitting Propecia, and may be irreversible.
On April 11, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Merck to revise the labeling on Propecia
to reflect mounting evidence that the medication can cause continued sexual dysfunction long
after patients have stopped taking it. Of the 421 Propecia-related sexual dysfunction cases
the FDA reviewed in its probe, 14 percent lasted longer than three months after patients
discontinued the drug.
On April 20, according to a report in The Examiner, the FDA began widening its probe into
Propecia, stating that the agency "will continue to vigilantly evaluate and analyze all reports that
are available on finasteride and take regulatory actions as warranted."
The FDA has also been actively encouraging victims to submit reports about "all adverse
reactions potentially caused by finasteride [including] cases of patients who developed
Peyronie’s [disease], anxiety, panic attacks, cognitive dysfunction, chronic insomnia, muscle
wasting and other persistent side effects."
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