Consumers in California multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Pfizer Inc. have accused the pharmaceutical giant of aggressively promoting Viagra without admitting that research has linked use of the blockbuster erectile dysfunction (ED) drug to an increased risk of developing melanoma. The consumers made out their claims in a master complaint that alleges Pfizer knew or should have known about the health risks associated with Viagra and Revatio, which is the same substance sold under a different name for treating a lung condition, but didn’t disclose this information on its labels or in its advertisements.
The master complaint alleges Pfizer should have been aware of the connection between Viagra and melanoma by the late 1990s. Pfizer knew as early as 1998 that people had dropped out of clinical studies because they developed cancers that start in the skin or in the tissue lining organs after taking Viagra. Since then, several studies have found links between the way Viagra works and the development of melanoma cells. Viagra inhibits the secretion of a specific enzyme that can prevent erection. However, studies over the last few years have found that blocking this enzyme can also trigger the creation of melanoma cells.
A 2014 study reported that of the nearly 25,850 participants, those who had recently used the medication showed an 84 percent increase in the risk of developing or worsening melanoma, a risk that was even higher for those who had used Viagra at any time in the past. However, Pfizer has engaged in a “continuous, expensive and aggressive” advertising campaign to promote the drug to men worldwide since the medication got FDA approval in 1998, the master complaint says. The marketing has paid off, with Pfizer bring in more than $1.8 billion in revenue from worldwide sales of Viagra in 2013, according to its annual report.
The master complaint includes numerous allegations, including negligence, unfair and deceptive trade practices, strict liability, breach of express and implied warranty, unjust enrichment, fraud and deceit, and negligent misrepresentation and concealment.
In April, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated a number of suits bringing similar claims over the medication in California federal court and asked for a master complaint in August. Pfizer says it stands behind the medicine and will vigorously defend the lawsuits. The Plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from Cory Watson PC, Levin Simes LLP, Motley Rice LLC, Davis & Crump PC and Robins Kaplan LLP, among others. The case is In re: Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) Products Liability Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the California Northern District.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.