People who have been harmed as a result of taking Taxotere have filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi, alleging that they suffered permanent hair loss after using the chemotherapy drug. These cancer patients also claim that Sanofi failed to warn them about the heightened risk of alopecia, an irreversible form of hair loss.
Temporary hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs. It’s not unusual for cancer patients to lose their hair while undergoing treatment and then watch it grow back after they stop taking the medications.
Taxotere hair loss, however, has proven to be permanent in many cases. That’s because the anti-cancer drug causes alopecia, an untreatable medical condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles.
Had they been warned of the Taxotere side effects, cancer patients say they would have opted for other chemotherapy drugs—drugs that are equally effective, but which present no such risks. Since the company did not warn patients or doctors about permanent hair loss from taking Taxotere, the patients took unnecessary risks. Taxotere is a drug that never should have been on the market.
Taxotere is a prescription medication used to destroy cancer cells and stop them from replicating. Introduced by Sanofi in 1996 and approved by the FDA, doctors have used it for years to treat breast cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. It is usually prescribed to patients who are suffering from late-stage, or metastasized, cancer.
Studies have revealed that patients who take the drug face a 6 to 10 percent risk of developing alopecia, which leads to complete hair loss all over the body. The result is baldness, as well as loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, genital hair, and underarm hair. This fact was never disclosed to the patients. Meanwhile, they could have taken other equally effective anti-cancer drugs that carried no risk of alopecia.
Since there is no known cure for alopecia, the physical and emotional trauma lasts for a lifetime. Female patients, in particular, suffer from embarrassment, shame, lower self-esteem, depression, and loss of femininity. Permanent hair loss is a painful and constant reminder that cancer patients have been victimized not once, but twice.
Sanofi, the manufacturer of Taxotere, did not include alopecia as a possible side effect on its U.S. labels until 2015, despite warning European and Canadian patients of the risk years before.
As far back as 2005, Sanofi informed the European medical community that its drug could cause irreversible hair loss. Its Canadian labels also featured warnings as early as 2012, three years before they disclosed the fact to American doctors and their patients. Meanwhile, the FDA didn’t approve the marketing of the drug’s generic version, docetaxel, until a year after Sanofi’s patent expired in 2010.
Thus, despite knowing that the drug might cause irreversible hair loss, the pharmaceutical company didn’t bother to notify cancer patients in the United States until much later. By then, it was too late for many patients.
Saunders & Walker P.A. represents clients in individual lawsuits against Sanofi. So far none of these lawsuits have gone to trial, but we expect some settlements in trials in the future. Our law firm is experienced in lawsuits involving medical devices and pharmaceutical products and we’re able to help patients who have suffered harm due to dangerous and mislabeled drugs.
Have you suffered permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere as part of a chemotherapy treatment program? Contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation regarding a Taxotere lawsuit.