Taxotere is the synthetic version of Taxol. It is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis and used to treat a variety of cancers. Taxotere cancer treatment drug and permanent hair loss lawsuits have been filed by numerous plaintiffs in multiple states are related to its use for breast cancer.
The drug has been aggressively used by physicians to treat women that have metastatic and locally advanced breast cancer after other chemotherapy treatment has failed. Taxotere, according to the prescribing information supplied by Sanofi, can have adverse effects, including alopecia, a term that means hair loss. While women who undergo treatments for breast cancer are advised by their physician and expect to lose their hair, they do not expect it to be permanent.
Sanofi mentions hair loss as a side effect in its prescribing information pamphlet, but it downplays the occurrences of permanent hair loss during its clinical studies and, in fact, states that “in most cases” normal hair growth should return. What has actually occurred is that the permanent loss of hair by women who have undergone treatment with Taxotere is much more common than cases of women’s hair growing back once treatment is complete. The lawsuits allege that Sanofi knew that the side effect was much more prevalent than it admitted to and attempted to downplay the effect. The company did that effectively. For example, the Breast Cancer News made no mention of permanent hair loss.
To date, the hundreds of women that have experienced permanent hair loss feel that they have been victimized, and they are fighting back. Most of those women have experienced a loss of self-esteem, loss of their femininity, loss of their husbands and partners, and, as a result of those repercussions combined with fighting breast cancer, experienced depression and distress. These women not only had to deal with cancer and harsh treatments for that condition, they have suffered life changing repercussions because of a side effect that was common, but that Sanofi passed off as an uncommon and rare.
If Sanofi had let women know that permanent hair loss could be expected, even though it did not occur in some woman, as opposed to occurring in rare cases, these women could have considered other treatment options. For example, Taxol is a breast cancer treatment drug that is as, or more, effective than Taxotere and causes temporary hair loss. Sanofi hid the fact that Taxotere caused a high number of cases of permanent alopecia by destroying hair follicles.
This is another example of a company that looks at it ability to make money from a drug over the well being of the very people that the drug was designed to treat. As more women who have undergone treatment with Taxotere learn that the side effect of permanent hair loss was much higher than Sanofi stated, it is expected that more lawsuits will be filed. Cancer is a devastating disease, both physically and mentally. To intentionally add to that stress in order to sell drugs is unconscionable.