Taxotere Lawsuits Allege Failure to Warn about Permanent Hair Loss

Lawsuits Allege Taxotere Makers Failed to Warn about Risk of Baldness

A new lawsuit has been filed over Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug marketed by Sanofi-Aventis. The plaintiff, like others suing over Taxotere, alleges that she suffered permanent hair loss (alopecia) after using the cancer treatment drug and was never informed of this risk. Taxotere permanent hair loss lawsuits have been consolidated into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm representing numerous clients in drug injury claims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to anyone with questions about filing a Taxotere permanent hair loss lawsuit.

According to court records, the plaintiff took Taxotere to treat breast cancer from December 2010 through March 2011. The plaintiff continues to suffer from hair loss, allegedly due to Taxotere side effects. The lawsuit alleges that the permanent baldness caused psychological side effects and negatively impacted her and her husband’s lives. Many cancer patients are aware that hair loss is a potential side effect of chemotherapy, but it is expected to grow back in most cases. Taxotere lawsuits allege that drug makers knew Taxotere carried a higher risk of permanent hair loss but failed to warn of the risks.

“Permanent alopecia is a disfiguring condition, especially for women.” It is socially acceptable for a man to be bald much more so than it is for women. And this can have very traumatic psychological consequences.” the complaint states. The suit also alleges that the manufacturers misrepresented the efficacy of the drug while failing to disclose the risks. The suit cites a study, known as GEICAM 9805, where 9.2 percent of patients taking Taxotere reportedly suffered permanent hair loss more than a decade after using the drug.

“Despite Defendants’ knowledge of the relevant findings from the GEICAM 9805 study, as well as reports of patients who had taken Taxotere and suffered from permanent alopecia, Defendants failed to provide accurate information and proper warnings to physicians, healthcare providers, and patients in the United States, including Plaintiffs,” the complaint states.

Sanofi-Aventis is facing other lawsuits alleging Taxotere caused permanent hair loss. Cases have been consolidated into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidates similar lawsuits to one court before one judge. The goal is to streamline proceedings and make the legal process more efficient. Transferring cases into an MDL eliminates duplicate discovery.

Plaintiffs allege that Sanofi-Aventis deprived them of making an informed choice by failing to disclose the risk of permanent hair loss. Some lawsuits are filed on behalf of people who say they spent money on costly wigs and eyebrow tattoos.

The MDL contains over 180 lawsuits, according to court documents. Lawsuits allege that permanent baldness occurs more frequently with Taxotere compared to other drugs and that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn about this adverse event. Plaintiffs state that the Taxotere label warned of permanent and disfiguring hair loss in Canada and Europe.
Some users say that the unexpected and permanent loss of hair caused emotional and psychological damage. “They absolutely told me my hair will grow back,” one Taxotere user told The Globe and Mail in 2010. “I will never be well of breast cancer because of this. My life is not over, but my life is drastically changed.”

“There never seemed to be any doubt that my thick, shoulder-length auburn hair – my crowning glory – would grow back,” said one woman to the U.K.’s Daily Mail in 2010. “I wore scarves and hats quite happily until I finished treatment in early 2006 and waited patiently for my hair to appear – yet it only came back in an extremely sparse way that resembles male-pattern baldness and means that I have to regularly shave my head because it looks even worse than having no hair at all.”

Court records indicate that the Taxotere litigation is moving forward; the first Status Conference occurred on Nov. 10. Two orders were issued afterwards. On Nov. 16th, an Order stated that applications for Special Counsel for Settlement Negotiations must be emailed to chambers no later than Dec. 5, 2016. Another order, dated Nov. 17th, creates the MDL’s leadership structure. This includes the Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

Taxotere Hair Loss Background

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Taxotere as a cancer treatment drug in 1996 to treat patients with head and neck cancers, gastric cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The agency announced a label update in December 2015, revising the “Postmarketing Experience” section of the warning label to state that “Cases of permanent alopecia have been reported” with Taxotere.

Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center found that 6.3 percent (7 out of 112) of women taking Taxotere developed persistent alopecia. “Such an emotionally devastating long term toxicity from this combination must be taken into account when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy programs in women who likely will be cured of their breast cancer.” researchers said.

In 2010, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study suggesting “an increasing number of reports of permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia.”

Another study Taxotere study was published in the Annals of Oncology in 2012. Out of 20 women taking Taxotere, 19 developed hair loss. Researchers made note of one participant who experienced temporary hair loss in the past due to cancer treatment. Her hair loss was permanent after taking Taxotere. The authors wrote that it was important to be aware of this possible side effect, stating “Considering the increasing role of taxane-based therapies in adjuvant treatment, physicians and patients should be aware of this new distressing side-effect,”

Filing a Taxotere Lawsuit

If you or someone you know suffered permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, contact our firm today by filling out our online form or calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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