Taxotere is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug and is the brand name for docetaxel generic form. In 1996, Sanofi-Aventis won approval for Taxotere to be marketed in the U.S. for the treatment of various cancers: breast cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. Taxotere sales went as high as $3.1 billion in 2010; the same year the patent of Sanofi expired, following which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved marketing of the generic version of Taxotere in 2011.
Problems erupted when it was noticed that some patients developed permanent hair loss or “alopecia” after taking chemotherapy sessions with Taxotere. Sanofi-Aventis had listed hair loss as one of the common side effects of this drug along with fluid retention, diarrhea, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, etc., also stating it to be better than the other options. Since there was no clear warning about the permanent hair loss side effect, Taxotere users believed that their hair would grow back once the therapy was over. The FDA found these claims to be “unsubstantiated,” and passed a cease-and-desist order. Finally, in December 2015, Sanofi-Aventis made changes to its U.S. label, warning patients about the true risks of permanent hair loss, eventually bringing down Taxotere sales.
The painful diagnosis of cancer with the onset of the strenuous treatment phase with strong chemotherapeutic drugs intravenously, orally, or through radiation is terribly stressful for the patient and the whole family. The whole process impacts the patient physically and emotionally often harming the patient’s self-image. Changes in weight (i.e., loss or gain), thinning or loss of hair, skin tone/color changes, changes in quality of nails, scarring, physical disabilities are some of the changes which affect the physical attributes of the patient, often causing depression. Cancer patients not only want to eliminate the cancer, they want to start living a normal life again.
Knowing the gravity and depth of this psychological condition attached to cancer, a drug like Taxotere which promises to cure cancer and then harms patients’ self-image by causing permanent Alopecia is genuinely heart-breaking. Patients hoping to normalize their lives unwittingly landed in another life altering trauma.
Taxotere side effects and their severity depend on how much Taxotere is administered i.e. high doses of Taxotere may produce more severe side effects. It is also true that most people do not experience all the side effects listed. Although the company projected that the side effects are almost always reversible and would go away after the treatment was completed, the hair loss faced by hundreds of victims was in fact but a permanent condition.
On an average, hair loss was noticed to begin 3-4 weeks after the first dose was consumed and was not restricted only to the scalp as it spread to other areas like eyelashes, eyebrows and other parts of the body.
According to a BreastCancer.org report, as of March 2017 more than 3 million women were noted to have a history of breast cancer in the U.S. and about 75% were prescribed Taxotere. Many patients who have suffered from permanent hair loss and have gone bald after chemotherapy with Taxotere already have come forward and joined the already established Taxotere multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2740) in the Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt. In addition, it is expected that the number of women joining the breast cancer class action lawsuit will soon reach 1,500.
Plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of permanent alopecia. Plaintiffs claim that had they been warned adequately, a safer option would have been chosen which would not have resulted in permanent hair loss. The defense has also faced allegations that the manufacturer knew as early as 2005 that the drug may cause permanent alopecia in as many as 9.2% of Taxotere patients and had intentionally withheld this information from the medical community and the public.
Matters may move forward as per a Pre-trial Order dated March 31, 2017, with respect to this chemotherapy lawsuit, wherein two settlement conferences are planned in the near future to see whether a settlement between the parties can be reached before trial. Earlier Judge Engelhardt had also assigned a Taxotere settlement committee in an attempt to resolve cases or issues relevant to Taxotere hair loss lawsuit.
Some significant research studies conducted and published in leading journals have clearly indicated the link between permanent alopecia and Taxotere. However, unlike other mass torts, a Taxotere Sanofi lawsuit may take many years to resolve, with huge amounts being spent by attorneys and law firms to come to some substantial conclusion and finding a potential link to permanent hair loss. The Taxotere users had not anticipated permanent hair loss, which scarred their lives apart from the burdens they were already dealing with due to cancer. Even after remission from cancer, this condition made them feel as if they never got rid of it at all causing further emotional, financial and psychological damages.
Getting a fair verdict might be the only light at the end of the tunnel for these Taxotere victims. It’s time to make a call on this 20-year-old product as women with breast cancer are turning to chemotherapy drugs that have proven to be more effective than Taxotere.
This article was submitted by Neural IT. Neural IT provides cost effective and timely medical reviews for screening potential mass tort cases. For more information, please visit www.neuralit.com. You may email us at email@example.com or call +1-844-NIT-TEAM (648-8326).
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