Taxotere Breast Cancer Drug Lawsuit Filed Over Permanent Hair Loss
The makers of the breast cancer drug Taxotere face a growing number of hair loss lawsuits filed on behalf of women nationwide, who allege they were not adequately warned that hair may not regrow following chemotherapy, and that equally effective alternative treatments were available that do not carry the same risk.
One of the latest lawsuits was filed by Carol Webb, of Gretna, Louisiana, who filed her complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on June 17.
Like other lawsuits over hair loss from Taxotere, Webb alleges that Sanofi-Aventis knew or should have known about the risk when they introduced the high-potency taxane-based drug, yet failed to adequately warn women and the medical community, while promoting use of their newer medication, even though it is no more effective than older breast cancer treatments that were already on the market.
Webb indicates that she was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the right breast in January 2010, and began chemotherapy treatment that included Taxotere in September 2010. Following the use of the breast cancer drug, Webb indicates that her hair has never regrown, leaving her with a permanent and disfiguring condition known as 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. Webb points 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.
Webb 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.
“Despite the fact that Defendants disclosed risks associated with Taxotere and permanent alopecia to patients and regulatory agencies in other countries, Defendants failed to either alert Plaintiff, the public, and the scientific community in the United States or perform further investigation into the safety of Taxotere regarding the side effect of disfiguring permanent alopecia,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants failed to update the warnings for Taxotere, and they failed to disclose the results of additional studies as Defendants learned new facts regarding the defects and risks of their product.”
Webb’s complaint and other lawsuits point out that while women may have accepted the Taxotere risk of permanent hair loss if no other treatment options were available, this was not the case, as similar drugs on the market at the time Taxotere was introduced provided the same treatment benefits without subjecting female users to the same risk of permanent hair loss.
Webb presents claims of defective design, inadequate warning, and breach of warranty.
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