Taxotere is a drug that is administered intravenously and it is intended to treat many different types of cancer. The drug works as a form of chemotherapy that is supposed to slow the cell growth of the cancerous tumor. However, this drug has several side effects that can result from its usage. On of these side effects is that the hair loss that accompanies the use of this drug is permanent instead of the usual temporary hair loss that is associated with this chemotherapy. This is notwithstanding the assurances from the company that the hair loss was limited in time. If you have taken this drug in conjunction with your cancer treatment and experienced permanent hair loss, you should immediately contact an attorney.
What is Taxotere?
While Taxotere can work with many different types of tumors, its most prevalent use is for women who suffer from breast cancer. Taxotere is manufactured and sold by the French company Sanofi-Aventis. The drug was approved pursuant to FDA’s Section 505(b)(2) authority. This means that FDA approval may be granted based on information that is not developed by or for the applicant. FDA approval was granted in 1996. The drug was initially approved for use in treating breast cancer, but was soon approved for other usages as well.
Taxotere is considered to be a cytotoxic drug. It is made from yew trees. Specifically, the bark or the needles of the tree can be fashioned into a chemotherapy drug. Now, the manufacturer is able to synthetically make the ingredients necessary for the drug in the laboratory given the number of trees that are necessary to treat one cancer patient.
Where cancer is an obvious risk is that the cells divide as the tumor grows. Cytotoxic drugs act to stabilize the cell structure for cancerous tumors. When the structure is stabilized, the cells have a harder time breaking down and reorganizing. If the cells are overly stable and not able to break down, the tumor is less likely to spread.
Taxotere’s usage increased as it was approved by the FDA for additional usages. At its peak, Taxotere was generating approximately $3 billion in sales for Sanofi. While it is still on the market, Taxotere’s sales have declined as Sanofi has newer products in the oncology space. In addition, Sanofi’s patent on this drug expired in 2010 and competition has eaten into the sales of this product.
Do I Qualify For A Taxotere Lawsuit?
- Female victim has a breast Cancer diagnosis in 2006 or after.
- The Taxotere victim has endured Chemotherapy treatments utilizing Taxotere (Docefrez/ Docetaxel)
- Permanent hair loss (Alocecia)*
The above criteria are the best Taxotere lawsuits. Other victims without those criteria may still qualify to file a Taxotere lawsuit so you should contact a Taxotere lawsuit law firm.
Side Effects of Taxotere
The manufacturer has always noted that hair loss is a side effect of Taxotere. In general, chemotherapy will cause hair loss until a new hair cycle can begin and the hair is regrown. Hair is usually regrown within six months after chemotherapy ends. However, Sanofi had long stated that the hair loss experienced by patients is temporary in nature. For practically 20 years, Sanofi never acknowledged the possibility that the hair loss could be permanent.
However, it is alleged that Sanofi has long had the knowledge that Taxotere can cause permanent hair loss. It is alleged that there was internal testing that began shortly after the drug was approved by the FDA that looked at the possibility that the drug could cause permanent alopecia. By 2006, Sanofi is alleged to have known that nearly one in every ten patients that received this drug had experienced permanent hair loss. One specific study found that patients could experience difficulty regrowing their hair for up to seven years after taking the drug.
Pharmaceutical companies have the obligation to update the warning labels for their products to reflect the known side effects of their products. Sanofi said nothing to the FDA regarding permanent hair loss until it alerted the FDA of this possibility in December 2015. However, this condition was not reflected on the warning label for its product. Further, by this time, sales of Taxotere had already begun to decline as the drug was replaced by a newer version of chemotherapy drug. In the meantime, there have been numerous scientific studies that have addressed the fact that Taxotere may be connected with permanent hair loss in patients as well as extensive media coverage of the issue. Warning labels in both the U.K. and Canada have been changed to reflect this side effect.
In addition to being required to update the warning label, drug manufacturers must also report each adverse drug experience for this product. It must also investigate all adverse drug experiences for a product.
There have been numerous Taxotere hair loss lawsuits filed on behalf of women who experienced permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere. These lawsuits generally allege that Sanofi knew that the drug caused permanent hair loss, but hid that fact while it continued to market and sell the drug. At the same time, the women received this drug without the knowledge that they may lose hair and not grow it back.
The lawsuits have been consolidated into a multi-district lawsuit that is currently in the Eastern District of Louisiana. As of May 2018, there were over 8,000 cases that have been filed against Sanofi and other defendants that are pending in this district. Each case will proceed on its own, but there is a centralized process for discovery issues and there will be a bellweather case that is tried first. There are bellweather cases that are scheduled to be tried in 2019 and 2020. In addition, there are hundreds of cases that are pending in New Jersey state courts which have been consolidated into multi-county lawsuits in the state courts.
It is vital that you contact a Taxotere lawsuit lawyer immediately if you have taken Taxotere and have experienced permanent hair loss. Since Taxotere is rarely in use anymore, it is likely that you have taken Taxotere some time ago. Accordingly, there is a statute of limitations that will apply to your case, and you will need to file the claim before the statute of limitations tolls. A Taxotere attorney can give you a free consultation where they can inform you whether they believe your claim is viable and the process that must be followed to file that claim.
*Consumer- Awareness -Group, -pamphlet