Viagra Melanoma Lawsuits Centralized in MDL

Texas lawyer for men with melanoma after taking Viagra.April 27, 2016 — Federal judges have created a federal docket to centralize lawsuits alleging that Pfizer failed to warn about the risk of melanoma (skin cancer) from the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order (PDF) on April 7 that will transfer 14 pending lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under Judge Richard Seeborg:

There are many advantages to coordinating the litigation, such as improving efficiency. In the future, lawyers may choose cases for “bellwether” trials to go before a judge and jury. The outcome of these trials can help resolve other cases involving similar injuries. According to the JPML:

“Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings on Daubert and other issues, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”

In 2014, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine associated Viagra with an 84% increased risk of melanoma. The 10-year study involved nearly 26,000 male health professionals and was conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Viagra blocks an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, which is also blocked by most melanomas. Researchers found that Viagra was not associated with any type of skin cancer other than melanoma, suggesting the increased risk is not due to increased sun-exposure among patients.

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