Taxotere lawsuits filed by thousands of breast cancer survivors are against Sanofi-Aventis and others.
Taxotere lawsuits claim the manufactures hid the risk of permanent hair loss caused by the chemotherapy drug and its generic docetaxel alternative
Taxotere lawsuits hold drug companies accountable for link between cancer drug and permanent hair loss
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and may cause a number of serious side effects, including permanent hair loss.
Thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturers of Taxotere, Sanofi-Aventis, have claimed the company failed to disclose the risk of permanent hair loss, denying patients the chance to choose an alternative treatment.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is the brand name for docetaxel, an intravenous cancer drug used to treat breast cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer and some lung cancers, among others. Generic versions of docetaxel were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2011. Taxotere belongs to a class of drugs known as taxanes and is most commonly prescribed for repeated chemotherapy sessions in conjunction with other cancer treatment drugs, such as fluorouracil, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin or doxorubicin.
Taxotere is often compared to paclitaxel, marketed under the name Taxol and others. Paclitaxel is also a taxane and has been shown to be equally as effective as Taxotere or other docetaxel.
Brands of docetaxel
What are the risks of Taxotere for patients?
Taxotere patients experience a number of side effects, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, low red and white blood cell counts, fatigue and other issues. Many patients also experience permanent alopecia, or baldness. While many cancer drugs trigger hair loss, the effect is usually temporary.
As early as 1998, research by Sanofi-Aventis showed the potential risk of permanent hair loss for patients. A study known as GEICAM 9805 showed that women undergoing treatment with Taxotere were at significant risk for developing permanent alopecia.
The link between Taxotere and permanent hair loss is supported by a number of independent studies, suggesting that Sanofi-Aventis knew their drug posed a risk to patients but encouraged doctors to prescribe regardless, without disclosing the extent of the side effects.
In the early 2010s, a study by researchers at Montpellier University showed that docetaxel caused permanent hair loss and also led to significantly worse quality of life for patients, compared to patients treated with other drugs.
In 2013, a study at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre showed that breast cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy using docetaxel were at significant risk for long term scalp alopecia. Researchers found that 10-15% of women treated with docetaxel experienced permanent baldness.
Cancer patients who underwent Taxotere treatment may be entitled to compensation
Personal injury claims against Sanofi-Aventis and other docetaxel manufacturers assert that patients are entitled to compensation because the company failed to fully disclose the risks associated with their product. While many cancer patients expect hair loss to be a possible side effect of chemotherapy, permanent baldness is not the norm and, in many cases, other treatments may have been equally effective as Taxotere.
As the side effects of Taxotere have significantly impacted patients’ quality of life, these personal injury lawsuits seek damages and compensation for the physical and emotional toll of alopecia.
Lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis over the impacts of Taxotere are still ongoing, with over 10,000 breast cancer patients claiming that the drug’s producers—and other manufacturers of docetaxel—were aware of the risks linked to their treatment but failed to inform consumers.
The cases by breast cancer survivors and their families are now part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) with over 11,000 claims. The lawsuits are now grouped under MDL – 2740 in RE: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation. Judges have already ruled that Taxotere claims will not be handled as class action lawsuits because there is too much variation between the cases.
As the number of cancer patients and survivors filing claims against Sanofi-Aventis continues to grow, the evidence that the firm may have hidden the risks associated with Taxotere is mounting. Personal injury lawyers are continuing to work with researchers to compile evidence and advocate for survivors and their families to receive compensation for the damage the side effects of Taxotere has caused to their lives.