Taxotere is a cancer medication. It is often administered intravenously to patients once every three weeks. It works by interfering with the ability of cancer cells within the body to grow and spread. Commonly used as a treatment for breast cancer patients, it has also been prescribed to treat other cancers, including lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head/neck cancer.
Hair Loss Studies and Claims
Cancer treatment can be very hard on the body, resulting in many unpleasant side effects. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. Cancer patients expect this to happen, but they also expect, if they are pronounced cancer free, that stopping medication will allow their hair to grow back just as it once was.
In the last decade, a number of studies have shown a link between Taxotere and permanent hair loss, also known as alopecia. Of the 2.8 million women in the U.S. who currently have breast cancer, 75% were prescribed Taxotere. A presentation given at the 2014 National Cancer Conference showed that 10-15% of these patients experienced permanent hair loss. That equates to around 315,000 cancer patients who can no longer grow their own hair.
In December 2015, the FDA acknowledged that it received multiple reports of permanent alopecia in patients taking Taxotere. These reports prompted the FDA to require a label change for Taxotere. On the packaging, there must now be a line that divulges that “cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.”
Sanofi-Aventis, the company which produces Taxotere, knew about the risk for alopecia but continued to sell Taxotere without warning patients or their physicians. Sanofi began a study called GEICAM 9805 in the late 1990’s. By 2005, the results of the study were in and showed that 9.2% of the women studied suffered permanent alopecia.
Not only did Sanofi know about this devastating side effect, they went through great lengths to cover it up and aggressively marketed the product to boost sales and increase popularity.
To make matters worse, there are other medications, such as Taxol (paclitaxel) that have been proven to be just as effective for treating cancer without putting patients at risk for permanent hair loss. Had physicians and patients been appropriately warned, they would have had the opportunity to chose an alternative cancer treatment that doesn’t cause permanent alopecia.
Grounds for Lawsuits
A number of lawsuits have already been filed and there will most likely be others. These suits claim that Sanofi-Aventis acted wrongfully by:
- Failing to warn about the risk of permanent alopecia, despite knowledge of the risks
- Fraudulently misrepresenting that Taxotere had been tested and deemed “safe and effective”
- Producing misleading marketing campaigns that led patients and physicians to believe that hair loss was temporary and would grow back eventually
- Continuing to manufacture a dangerous drug
- Concealing valuable information from the public
Receiving Compensation for your Suffering
The first legal proceedings against Sanofi are just getting started It’s very possible that the filing of more lawsuits will result in a multi-district litigation lawsuit being created with multiple plaintiffs, hopefully resulting in compensation for each individual who was hurt by this drug.
Studies have shown that hair loss is one of the most difficult aspects of cancer that patients have to deal with. Permanent hair loss can cause depression, mental anguish, and a major decline in the patient’s self-worth.
If you or a loved one was prescribed Taxotere and has suffered permanent hair loss as a result, you may be entitled to damages for:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional trauma/anguish
- Past and future medical bills
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Psychological counseling
- Therapy costs
If your life was affected by Taxotere, please call 877-392-4878 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Our product liability lawyers can help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation.