Taxotere is a type of cancer drug, administered during chemotherapy, which aims to prevent cancer cells from replicating. Unfortunately, doctors don’t always warn patients that it comes with a risk of permanent hair loss.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is the brand name of docetaxel, a type of cancer drug known as a taxane, and works by disrupting the normal function of microtubules in order to stop cell division. It is manufactured by Sanofi, an international pharmaceutical company, and marketed across the world under different names.
Taxotere prevents cancer cells from replicating, and it is less costly compared to a similar cancer drug known as Paclitaxel. Taxotere was approved for medical use in 1995, and approved by the FDA for the treatment of different cancers from 1999-2006.
Taxotere and Hair Loss
In 2005, it was discovered that this medication can cause permanent or persistent hair loss. However, this information wasn’t widely shared with the general public despite the fact that other countries knew about, and had warned their citizens, of these very same risks.
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 women who use Taxotere will be left permanently bald, or will suffer from alopecia areata.
It’s thought that Taxotere causes hair loss due to damaging hair bulbs and/or stem cells found in the scalp, while other experts blame the disruption of signaling pathways or dysfunctions in the endocrine system.
Taxotere is touted as being twice as potent as many anti-cancer drugs, at a much lower cost. However, the permanent hair loss that many women experience can lead to significant effects to their self-esteem, self-confidence, and their psychological well-being.
While this may sound trivial to those who have not gone through such an experience, we all know that a person’s hair is important for self-expression, confidence, and absolutely has an affect on how others perceive us.
Hair is a sign of beauty and health, and balding or permanent hair loss (especially with women) can have a deep and long-lasting effect on one’s self esteem, attitude, and even their career.
Several Taxotere lawsuits are currently being litigated across the country under the “failure to warn” premise of product liability law.
According to US law, manufacturers are required to place clear warnings on products with negative side effects, and doctors are required to advise you of these risks before beginning treatment so that patients can make an informed decision.
Failing to warn patients of these side effects can open the door to lawsuits filed by the victims, and can result in victims recovering significant compensation.
Currently, several Taxotere lawsuits are being consolidated into multidistrict litigation. This is similar to a class action, except for the fact that plaintiffs (victims) have more control over their case and can make a decisions on whether or not to individually take a proposed offer.
Unscrupulous Tactics by Sanofi
It is alleged that individuals within Sanofi incentivized doctors to prescribe the drug by providing them with kickbacks, bringing Taxotere revenue up from $424 million in 2000 to $1.2 billion in 2004.
If you feel that the makers of this medication — or your doctor — failed in their obligations to you and caused you to suffer permanent hair loss as a result, you have every right to speak to an attorney about your legal options.
Not only can you recover compensation that will go a long way in helping you rebuild your life, but your actions could spur changes that help prevent others from experiencing the same trauma in the future.