More than 1,500 breast cancer patients have filed product liability lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis, accusing the pharmaceutical company of concealing a link between Taxotere and permanent hair loss. 

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We believe hundreds of other breast cancer patients may still be eligible to file a Taxotere lawsuit.

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Did you see a TV commercial informing cancer patients and their loved ones of a growing litigation involving the common chemotherapy drug Taxotere? These ads, which are being produced by various law firms, were made to notify breast cancer patients of their legal rights. Most of the commercials say that Taxotere has been linked to permanent hair loss.

TV Ads Notify Cancer Patients Of Hair Loss Lawsuits

That’s certainly true. A number of studies performed over the last decade have found that between 3% and 15% of women undergoing Taxotere chemotherapy will experience persistent alopecia, or hair loss. But in a wave of product liability lawsuits, cancer patients and their families accuse Taxotere’s manufacturer of failing to warn the American public, along with the medical community, of this life-altering risk.

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A warning for permanent hair loss, plaintiffs note, was only added to Taxotere’s product label in 2015 – despite early clinical trials, conducted prior to the drug’s approval in 1999, that demonstrated a substantial risk. And even more compelling is the fact that Taxotere’s labeling in Europe has warned patients and doctors about the risk of persistent alopecia since at least 2005.

How Many Chemo Lawsuits Have Been Filed?

To date, nearly 1,600 current and former Taxotere patients have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis, the French pharmaceutical manufacturer that creates and markets the drug. The vast majority of these claims are now consolidated in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, as members of a Multi-District Litigation.

In New Orleans, the lawsuits have been moving through coordinated pre-trial proceedings. Together, the claims filed by thousands of women are benefiting from a coordinated discovery process, in which crucial evidence is gathered. Then, once pre-trial duties are complete, the cases will head to trial. Not every lawsuit, however, will go to trial at once. Instead, District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt has already scheduled four bellwether trials, beginning in January 2019. While specific cases have not yet been selected, these initial trials will serve as a necessary point of departure for the rest of the consolidated litigation.

Permanent Hair Loss

Crucial to note is that, while hair loss is not life-threatening, it can have drastic consequences for a patient’s self-esteem and overall emotional health. Before treatment, most female cancer patients cite hair loss as their most dreaded potential side effect. A survey in 2010, reported by US News & World Report, even found that up to 8% of women with breast cancer would avoid chemotherapy treatments to save themselves from temporary hair loss.

As we can see, hair loss is a deeply personal, and often deeply traumatic, side effect of many cancer treatments. But, with most chemotherapy agents, it’s also temporary. Oncologists usually reassure their patients that, within a month of treatment, hair will begin to grow back. That’s the same message, as a side-note, delivered to patients and providers on Taxotere’s initial US warning label, which said simply that “hair generally grows back.” There was no indication, before 2015, that up to 15% of patients would never regrow their hair.

Around half of all chemo agents cause some degree of hair loss. In all but the rarest cases, the side effect is temporary. That’s why most medical scientists have chosen to focus on other research goals. The long-term effects of chemotherapy-induced hair loss are understudied and poorly-understood. It should be little surprise, then, that many oncologists are still unaware of Taxotere’s link to permanent hair loss.

Learn More About Joining The Litigation

Did you or a loved one experience permanent hair loss after receiving Taxotere? Financial compensation may be available. To learn more about filing a lawsuit, contact our experienced product liability attorneys today. You can find more information – at no cost and no obligation – in a free consultation. Just call or fill out our online contact form now.

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