Coast-to-Coast, Taxotere Lawsuits Sweep the Country

Coast-to-Coast, Taxotere Lawsuits Sweep the Country

Taxotere lawsuits are being filed around the country. In the last two months alone, new legal complaints have been filed by women in California and Oklahoma, while more than 180 cases continue to move through courts in Louisiana.

The cases are filed by breast cancer patients who have experienced hair loss as a side effect of taking Taxotere, which is an effective chemotherapy drug that was approved by the FDA way back in 1998. Despite that long history of success, the associated hair loss – also known as alopecia – has caused major distress to women who used the drug to beat breast cancer.

If it sounds like a strange complaint, given that hair loss is one of the first side-effects that springs to mind when considering cancer treatment, think again. The alopecia that popular culture associates with chemotherapy is a temporary condition. Indeed, the most common visual used by Hollywood to signify a successful recovery from cancer is a full head of hair.

Unfortunately for patients who were prescribed Taxotere, their hair loss can be permanent.  

That visual sign of recovery is not there for these patients. Instead, it is replaced by a lifelong reminder of their illness and a permanent scar that they will see every day. The women filing these lawsuits around the country can’t expect to get their hair back, but they can hope to receive compensation for a decision they made without having all the facts available.

The women filing these lawsuits around the country can’t expect to get their hair back, but they can hope to receive compensation for a decision they made without having all the facts available. The drug’s primary provider, Sanofi-Aventis, is accused of failing to disclose the potential for permanent hair loss in a timely manner, preventing oncologists and their patients from fully understanding the pros and cons of using the drug over its competitors.

Even with a variety of chemotherapy drugs available to treat breast cancer, Taxotere remains at the top of the list for many patients. Some studies suggest that oncologists recommend the drug to up to three-quarters of the people they treat for breast cancer.

Taxotere typically shows better performance in improving the survival rates of breast cancer patients, which makes it a common part of the recovery program. A study in 2005, the height of the drug’s prescription success and before permanent hair loss was being widely reported, found taxotere offered a “statistically significant median overall survival of 15.4 months… versus 12.7 months” for Paclitaxel, its main competitor at the time.

With around 3 million women across the country diagnosed with breast cancer, a drug like taxotere is a vital factor in increasing survival rates. However, this urgent need does not remove the need for pharmaceutical companies to be upfront about the side effects. Patients deserve to have all the information that the drug companies do so that they can make informed decisions with their doctor about the right course of treatment for them.

In the case of Sanofi-Aventis and one of its top-performing drugs this was not the case. That’s why we see so many taxotere lawsuits showing up in courts around the country, with breast cancer survivors struggling to cope with a scar from their condition that will never go away. 

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