The litigation involving Taxotere and permanent alopecia continues to grow, with new filing reported in Texas and Mississippi. Like other cases pending around the country, these complaints claim that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn patients and doctors that hair loss associated with the chemotherapy medication could be permanent.
The Texas case was filed on April 27th in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, by a breast cancer survivor who underwent Taxotere chemotherapy from October 2012 through February 2013. More than three years later, the plaintiff continues to suffer from “disfiguring permanent alopecia,” allegedly due to the side effects associated with Taxotere.
The second Taxotere lawsuit was filed on April 20th in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, on behalf of a woman who underwent treatment with Taxotere following a recurrence of invasive ductal carcinoma in her left breast in 2014. The chemotherapy resulted in hair loss, which the plaintiff believed would be temporary. However, her hair has not grown back.
Both complaints accuse Sanofi-Aventis of withholding information about the potential for Taxotere to cause permanent hair loss, and of making false and misleading statements to doctors about the efficacy of the chemotherapy agent. Among other things, the lawsuits assert that there are a number of alternatives to Taxotere that are equally effective in treating cancer, but that have not been associated with permanent hair loss.
“Contrary to Defendants’ claims of superior efficacy, post market surveillance has shown that the more potent and more toxic Taxotere does not in fact offer increased efficacy or benefits over other Taxanes, as Defendants have claimed and advertised,” the Mississippi lawsuit states. “Defendants concealed the existence of studies from the FDA, physicians and patients that refuted Defendants’ claims.”
Taxotere was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. It is currently indicated to treat a number of cancers, including locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer after prior chemotherapy attempts had failed. Sanofi recently modified the Taxotere label in the U.S. to note that the drug has been linked to reports of permanent hair loss. However, the labeling in Canada and the European Union has long included information about the potential for permanent alopecia.