Widely used in the treatment of breast cancer, Taxotere is a powerful anti-mitotic chemotherapy drug. While Taxotere offers an effective breast cancer treatment, many patients may have chosen to take it without full knowledge of the safety and efficacy of the drug. Specifically, many patients consented to Taxotere treatment with no awareness of the risk for permanent Taxotere hair loss, and may have been influenced by illegal marketing tactics. Persons and the family members of persons having suffered from Taxotere hair loss may be entitled to compensation by filing a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit against Sanofi.
Taxotere (generic name docatexel) was approved the FDA in the mid-1990s for the treatment of local or metastatic breast cancer. The most popular drug in the Taxane class, Taxotere is also among the most potent or toxic. Critics say Taxotere has become the most popular drug through dishonest means, and not because it offers superior treatment. In fact, Sanofi knowingly concealed Taxotere hair loss risk information while falsely marketing Taxotere to American physicians as superior to other treatments.
The Taxane class of drug wards off cancer growth by interfering with cell division, which also causes hair to stop growing. In most cases, when chemotherapy treatment is concluded, hair will regrow normally. Permanent hair loss from Taxotere can leave a patient with bald areas or patchy hair growth that never returns to normal. The risk of permanent Taxotere hair loss sets this drug apart from other comparable treatments.
Another popular drug in this class is Taxol, which has been found to work just as well – or even better, according to a 2008 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine . Taxol is far less potent than Taxotere and without the side effect of permanent hair loss. Taxotere does offer one advantage over Taxol: because it is stronger, the treatment is administered less often and is thus offers a more convenient treatment schedule. Critics point to aggressive marketing campaigns – which sometimes employed illegal tactics that violated federal law – as the reason Taxotere has become so popular. Prior to 2010, when Sanofi’s patent expired, Taxotere garnered up to $3.1 billion in annual sales.
Alopecia is a normal side effect of chemotherapy, and cancer patients understand they will lose their hair during treatment. What is not expected is that Taxotere will cause permanent hair loss. While most patients will not remain bald following treatment, 9% of patients suffer from permanent Taxotere hair loss such as bald or patchy growth patterns.
According to a 2008 literature review on side effects of chemotherapy, hair loss is widely seen as the most distressing complication of chemotherapy treatment. Losing one’s hair is the most visible evidence of having cancer for many patients, and can impact one’s body image. However, most patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer are willing to experience temporary hair loss for a treatment that may save their life. Taxotere patients were never warned that Taxotere hair loss could be permanent. With other, less toxic and equally effective treatments available, it is hard to imagine many patients knowingly choosing Taxotere.
Sanofi officials have known of the risk for permanent Taxotere hair loss since at least 2005. In the late 1990s, the company launched a study on the long-term side effects of Taxotere referred to as the GEICAM 9805 study. Findings from the study revealed that as many as 9% of patients would suffer from permanent Taxotere hair loss including bald spots and patchy hair growth, long after treatment ended. Cancer patients in Canada and Europe were warned of the danger, yet Sanofi never issued a Taxotere hair loss warning in the United States.
Taxotere is sometimes prescribed to treat other forms of cancer than that which are approved by the FDA, which critics trace back to illegal marketing campaigns launched by Sanofi which promoted the drug for off-label uses. In the United States, physicians may use their best judgment in prescribing drugs, but federal law bans the promotion of drugs for any but their approved use. In 2008, FDA officials called out Sanofi for marketing Taxotere for non-approved indications and for paying kickbacks to physicians for favoring Taxotere over other chemotherapy options.
Persons and the family members of persons who have suffered from permanent hair loss following Taxotere chemotherapy treatment for cancer may be eligible for meaningful compensation through filing a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit In addition, Taxotere lawsuits for alopecia serve to hold Sanofi accountable for its flagrant disregard for consumer safety.
These Taxotere hair loss lawyers are experts in the field of pharmaceutical litigation where individuals and families have been harmed by large corporate entities. Working on a contingency basis, these Taxotere attorneys will charge no legal fees unless they win on your behalf.
For more information, visit our Taxotere Hair Lawsuit website.