Losing your hair is one of many devastating parts of cancer treatment. Cancer patients can take solace in the fact, however, that their hair grows back after treatment.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for patients treated with a chemotherapy drug called Taxotere. Taxotere (docetaxel) is an FDA-approved cancer drug that has been on the market since 1996. The drug was originally approved to treat breast cancer. Today, it’s used to treat head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Over the past few years, there have been a growing number of Taxotere hair loss lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege that their hair has not grown back after using Taxotere during chemotherapy. The drug works as advertised to target cancer cells within the body, but it may also lead to permanent alopecia.
Cancer patients are suing Sanofi-Aventis, the makers of Taxotere because they allege they were not warned of the dangers of permanent hair loss prior to beginning treatment. The label for Taxotere specifically warns about hair loss, but it doesn’t warn about permanent hair loss.
Plaintiffs argue that, if they had known about the side effects of Taxotere, then they would have opted for a less potent chemotherapy drug – like Taxol, which is thought to be equally as effective without being linked to permanent hair loss.
One plaintiff named Hattie Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and underwent chemotherapy treatment with Taxotere. After her hair failed to grow back after 6 months, Carson was diagnosed with Taxotere alopecia, or permanent hair loss.
In 2016, Hattie Carson launched a Taxotere side effects lawsuit in US District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Case No. 1:16-cv-00165).
Canada and Europe Have Known About the Permanent Hair Loss Issue Since 2005
One of the odd parts of the Taxotere lawsuits is that the rest of the developed world has understood the risks of Taxotere since 2005. European health agencies were alerted to the issue all the way back in 2005, while Health Canada issued warnings back in 2012.
As one legal industry analyst website explained, “It’s unclear why Canada and Europe…were alerted previously, but Sanofi-Aventis allegedly failed to notify the FDA until late winter in 2015.”
The Globe And Mail investigated Taxotere lawsuits back in 2010, reporting on female patients across Canada who had experienced permanent hair loss from their Taxotere treatment. Despite this widespread information about the risks of Taxotere around the world, American patients never received the full story about the drug.
How Taxotere Works
One of the silver linings to these class action lawsuit stories is that Taxotere is a chemotherapy treatment that’s proven to be effective. Doctors prescribe the drug to treat the majority of breast cancer cases in the United States.
Each year, approximately 300,000 women across the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. Before Sanofi-Aventis lost patent protection on Taxotere, they had earned over $3 billion from the drug.
Taxotere works in a different way than similar drugs like paclitaxel. You take Taxotere once every 3 weeks, as opposed to weekly treatments with paclitaxel.
One of the most attractive benefits of Taxotere is that you visit the doctor less often. Studies, however, show that paclitaxel is just as effective.
Why Women Are Filing Taxotere Lawsuits
Many breast cancer victims were given a choice: take Taxotere every 3 weeks, or take paclitaxel every week. The treatments are equally as effective. Women were told they led to equal side effects.
Given the choice, many women opted to take Taxotere every 3 weeks. These women prepared themselves for hair loss, as stated on the Taxotere label. However, they did not prepare themselves for permanent hair loss. Many of these women and their families are angry because they were never properly warned of the risks of Taxotere.
Sanofi warned women in other countries – including Canada and European countries – about the risks of permanent hair loss. However, their labeling in the United States never contained the words “permanent hair loss” or “alopecia”.
Many of the women who filed lawsuits agree: their permanent hair loss is more than cosmetic. It’s a constant reminder of the struggle they had to go through. As one survivor explained, “The painful reality is that I will forever look like a cancer patient.”
Lawsuits allege that Sanofi engaged in some or all of the following activities:
- Selling the drug without properly testing it
- Failing to determine whether or not the drug was safe
- Selling the drug without disclosing the dangers or risks
- Failing to properly warn patients and health care providers
- Manufacturing a dangerous drug
- Misleading the public in product advertising and marketing materials
- Concealing information from the public
- Downplaying the dangers associated with Taxotere
Many of these lawsuits specifically allege that Sanofi hid hair loss side effects, misleading the public by assuring patients that their hair would grow back after treatment. Lawsuits specifically cite studies performed by Sanofi in the late 1990s showing that 9.2% of women who used Taxotere suffered permanent alopecia. A follow-up study in 200 showed that 6% of women who used Taxotere suffered from permanent alopecia.
Some women also file lawsuits against Taxotere for other side effects – including bone, muscle, and joint pain or peripheral neuropathy.
Ultimately, all Taxotere lawsuits can be linked to a lower quality of life after undergoing Taxotere treatment.
How to File a Taxotere Lawsuit
Thousands of Taxotere lawsuits are moving through courts across America. Law firms are competing to attract your business. When you Google “Taxotere lawsuits” or “pharmaceutical lawyers” in your city, you’ll find plenty of lawyers eager to help you proceed with your lawsuit.
As a Taxotere victim, the power is in your hands: you can pick between multiple law firms. These law firms all offer free consultations, during which they’ll discuss the details of your case, and explain the likelihood of successfully winning compensation. You can use these free consultations to decide if you want to proceed with the lawsuit.
Ultimately, Taxotere led to a proven worsening of quality of life for many women across the world. If you or a loved one suffered from the unlisted permanent hair loss side effects of Taxotere, and you want compensation for your loss of quality of life, then you can file a Taxotere lawsuit today.