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One of the sad side effects of chemotherapy to treat cancer is hair loss. And it's become so ubiquitous that there are now charities where you can donate hair for wigs for cancer patients. For the most part, though, patients know that if they survive the chemotherapy and the cancer, their hair will someday grow back. But what if that doesn't happen?
Dozens of new lawsuits are claiming that the chemotherapy drug Taxotere is causing permanent hair loss in female patients, especially those being treated for breast cancer. Here's what you need to know:
Taxotere is the name brand of drug Docetaxel, which is used to battle breast cancer, gastric cancer, and some types of prostate and lung cancer. The drug works by interfering with cell division, but that includes healthy as well as cancerous cells. While all chemotherapy drugs come with the risk of side effects, the new lawsuits claim that Sanofi-Aventis, the makers of Taxotere, knew that permanent baldness was one of those risks and failed to warn women and doctors.
One of those lawsuits alleges that Sanofi-Aventis knew about Taxotere's increased risk of permanent baldness as early as 2005, based on its own research. The same suits claims the Federal Drug Administration issued a warning letter to the drug's manufacturer in 2009 citing "false or misleading statements concerning unsubstantiated claims of Taxotere's superior efficacy." And yet there was no change to the drug's label until January of this year.
Drug manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers about known side effects, and consumers can sue pharmaceutical companies if they are injured by those side effects. A company could be held liable for providing inadequate warnings, inaccurate warnings, or no warnings at all.
These are the most common cause of pharmaceutical company lawsuits, are there are at least 33 lawsuits pending against Sanofi-Aventis based on their failure to warn female patients about the risk of permanent baldness.
If you've suffered permanent baldness, or any other serious injury as the result of taking Taxotere, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review your case. Most are happy to review your case for free.