Women who receive chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer (EBC) are usually warned that the medications can cause temporary hair loss. However, many breast cancer patients suffered hair loss lasting for three years or more after their treatments were complete—and some suffered a permanent inability to regrow hair.
Drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis has come under fire for causing long-term scalp alopecia as a result of its drug Taxotere® (docetaxel). As many as 15% of patients treated with Taxotere have suffered long-term hair loss as a result, leading to a variety of lawsuits and allegations against the drug’s manufacturer, including:
- Failure to warn. Sanofi-Aventis drug warnings for Taxotere indicate that 3% of patients could experience long-term alopecia. However, some patients are claiming that Sanofi-Aventis did not adequately warn women of the risks, especially if the drug is used combination with the other chemotherapy agents (which it typically is), which raises the likelihood of hair loss even further.
- Misleading marketing tactics. Many of the dangerous drug lawsuits state that Taxotere’s marketing campaign focused on an unfair comparison between Taxotere and more established chemotherapy medication Taxol. Patients have attested that if they had known the true risks of alopecia, they would have opted for Taxol instead, which has not been linked to permanent baldness.
- Withholding information. Many patients have claimed that Sanofi-Aventis knew about the risks of permanent baldness, but hid the information from consumers to increase drug sales. Court documents indicate that Taxotere drug warnings overseas include the words “permanent hair loss” and “alopecia,” but these terms do not appear in Taxotere U.S. prescribing information.