Taxotere, one of the most widely used chemotherapy treatments in the US, has been under fire because it has been shown to permanent hair loss. The shocking part about this, however, is that the pharmaceutical company that makes Taxotere, has been aware of these side effects since as early as the 1990s. This deception has caused many cancer patients to start fighting back.
What Is Taxotere?
Taxotere is a widely used chemotherapy treatment, created by Sanofi-Aventis, used mostly to treat women with breast cancer.It is used in an IV drip so slow or eliminate the growth of cancerous cells.
While the chemotherapy treatment itself is effective in treating the cancer, the side effects of alopecia (permanent hair loss) has come as a surprise to many women.
After the long arduous battle against cancer, women are outraged that Sanofi-Aventis as well as many of the doctors who prescribed it knew about this side effect but did not tell them.
Why The Lawsuits?
Doctors reportedly received kickbacks and various forms of incentives to use Taxotere, even though other chemotherapy treatments as just as effective, if not more. And, these other treatments would not have permanent side effects.
However, there is more to the story.
Sanofi-Aventis began warning patients about the risk of permanent hair loss in 2005, in every country except the United States. They only began warning patients in the US, after the FDA mandated that they do so in 2015. Company whistleblowers’ testimonies from other lawsuits show that 75% of women who were given Taxotere were not told about the side effects.
Sanofi-Aventis’ deception worked until 2015. Taxotere revenue increased year by year, becoming a billion dollar revenue stream for them in the mid 2000s.
Taxotere lawsuits filed since 2015 until now show that Sanofi-Aventis took advantage of women who were dealing with a life-threatening illness to increase their revenues.
Permanent hair loss in women has been shown to has serious negative psychological consequences. Issues such as body image are brought into the picture when it comes to hair loss.
Usually, the patient is eager to get back to their normal life. Permanent baldness, especially in women, is a constant reminder of the traumatic events that they had to suffer through. This is so for both themselves and their loved ones.
The alopecia, also affects how strangers treat them. While they may not want to talk or even think about it, well meaning people may think that they are still battling cancer and treat them accordingly. To someone who is ready to get on with their lives this can be discouraging.
Aas women struggle to reintegrate themselves back into their lives, they can deal with depression and anxiety as a very visible sign of their former illness stays with them. There in no known cure for this type of hair loss and this adds to the feelings of betrayal and desperation.
What Should You Do?
Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy. However, it is expected for it to grow back a few months after treatment. Many women are devastated to have to live the rest of their lives with alopecia, when they could have been treated with something else just as effective.
If you are one of the women who was given Taxotere during your breast cancer treatment and are now experiencing permanent hair loss, it is advised you contact a lawyer in your area to see what claims or settlements you may be entitled to.