Taxotere, the synthetic version Taxol, is a drug used for the treatment of many types of cancer, including lung, breast, prostrate, stomach, and head/neck. It is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, a global pharmaceutical company that has a United States based headquarters in New Jersey. The drug was approved for use in the treatment of breast cancer by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, FDA, in 2004. Since that time, Taxotere, a cancer treatment drug, has resulted in lawsuits
While cancer drugs typically cause temporary hair loss, Taxotere has been found to cause permanent hair loss in a significant number of the women who have been treated using the drug. One of the major problems, and the issue that has resulted in lawsuits, is that the manufacturer did not disclose that information as a side effect.
Sanofi-Aventis has a history of false advertising relating to the drug and has been warned by the FDA several times over the years for publishing misleading information. The latest warning was issued in 2009 because the company was advertising that Taxotere was more effective than other drugs used to treat cancer. The FDA had no substantial proof that that statement was true. Those warnings present a pattern of not only not disclosing side effects that cancer patients should be made aware of, but in misleading the public about its safety. There are, in fact, other drugs that are safer and are as, if not more, effective than Taxotere.
As of July 2016, 33 lawsuits have been filed against Sanofi-Aventis alleging that Taxotere causes permanent hair loss in patients who are treated with the drug, and that most of those experiencing the side effect are women being treated for breast cancer. On July 22, the attorneys for two of the plaintiffs requested that the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation move all lawsuits relating to Taxotere to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. This is not a request for a class action lawsuit, it is a request that all lawsuits be held in one court. The Judicial Panel has not given a ruling on that request as of the time of this writing.
Drugs used to treat cancer are toxic and have multiple, serious side effects. Women who are being treated for breast cancer typically expect their hair to grow back once the treatments have been completed. Many, if not most, of those women treated with Taxotere will never regain their hair growth. This side effect, that was not disclosed to them, will have a permanent, negative effect on their lives. These women will suffer because a global pharmaceutical company cares more about profits than it does the lives of those who take their drugs.
It is expected that many more women who have taken this drug and experienced permanent hair loss will file lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis. I will be following and writing about this litigation as it progresses and as more information comes to light about the damaging side effects that these women have experienced and how it is affecting their lives.