Permanent Alopecia Lawsuit Filed Against Makers of Taxotere

According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed recently against Sanofi-Aventis, side effects of Taxotere caused permanent alopecia for an Illinois woman, resulting in continuing hair loss long after treatment with the controversial breast cancer drug.

The complaint (pdf) was filed by Renita Johnson in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on June 28, indicating that the drug maker knew or should have known that women may be left with permanent alopecia following chemotherapy, but provided false and misleading information that suggested hair typically regrows.

Johnson indicates that she underwent a lumpectomy to treat breast cancer, followed by chemotherapy involving Taxotere to decrease the risk that the cancer would return. Although the chemotherapy with Taxotere was finished in February 2012, Johnson indicates that she continues to suffer alopecia hair loss years later.

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Taxotere Lawsuits

Side effects of Taxotere may cause sudden eye problems or result in permanent hair loss. Lawsuits reviewed nationwide.

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The case joins a growing number of Taxotere alopecia lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis in recent months, which allege that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of long-term hair loss and continued to promote use of their high potency taxane-based drug, even though there were alternative breast cancer medications that were not linked to an alopecia risk.

“Although alopecia can be a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not,” the lawsuit filed by Johnson states. “Defendants, through their publications, promotion and marketing materials, misled physicians, health care professions and the public, including Plaintiff, in the United States regarding the risk of permanent alopecia.”

The lawsuit notes that the manufacturers failed to disclose information about the link between Taxotere and permanent hair loss, providing false and misleading information that suggested hair would regrow following use of the breast cancer drug.

Johnson and other plaintiffs point to research available as early as 2005, including a study known as GEICAM 9805, which found that nearly one out of every 10 patients treated with Taxotere suffered hair loss that lasted up to 10 years and five months following chemotherapy, and in some cases longer.

It also points out that Taxotere carries warnings about the risk of permanent hair loss in some other countries, but those same warnings are not provided to consumers or doctors in the United States.

Johnson’s lawsuit presents claims of inadequate warnings, negligence, and fraud, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.


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