Lawsuit Alleges Taxotere Caused Permanent And Severe Alopecia Hair Loss

A breast cancer survivor has filed a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis, alleging that the side effects of Taxotere caused permanent and severe hair loss, which was is a risk not seen with other, equally effective treatments she could have received. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Dena Strother in Delaware Superior Court on December 30, indicating that the drug maker provided false and misleading information to consumers and the medical community about their controversial breast cancer drug, which has been linked to reports of long-term alopecia, where hair never regrows following chemotherapy.

Taxotere (docetaxel) is a high potency taxane-based cancer drug, which was introduced by Sanofi-Aventis in 1996 as an alternative to existing low-potency taxanes, such as Taxol. Although studies suggest that it is actually no more effective, the drug maker failed to disclose that women may face a risk of permanent and disfiguring hair problems, according to the lawsuit.

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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 similar Taxotere lawsuits filed on behalf of women nationwide who have experienced permanent alopecia hair loss, indicating that women who experience the disfiguring permanent alopecia commonly suffer great mental anguish, as well as economic damages due to loss of work or inability to work due to the psychological damage.

While Taxotere warnings in several other countries were previously updated to include information about the risk of permanent baldness, that same information was not provided to American women and doctors, according to the complaint.

As early as 2005, studies found that women face a substantial risk of permanent hair loss caused by Taxotere, including findings that indicate 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 is well known that cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can cause temporary hair loss during treatment. However, permanent alopecia is not common place. Sanofi Defendants, through their marketing and promotional materials, misled the medical community, the public, and the Plaintiff, to believe Taxotere, as with other chemotherapy treatment, would cause temporary hair loss, but that the hair would grow back,” Strother’s lawsuit states. ” Sanofi Defendants knew, or should have known, that the rate of permanent alopecia related to Taxotere (docetaxel) was far greater than with other chemotherapy treatments for the same conditions as Taxotere (docetaxel).”

In October 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered all Taxotere hair loss cases filed in federal courts nationwide consolidated in the Eastern District of Louisiana for pretrial proceedings.

It is likely that a small group of cases will be prepared for early “bellwether” trials to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and expert testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcome of such early trials will not be binding in other cases, they may help the parties reach Taxotere settlements for women suffering permanent hair loss problems, avoiding the need for dozens of individual trials in courts throughout the U.S.


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