Hair loss is something cancer patients have come to expect as a side effect of chemotherapy. The hair usually grows back after the treatments end and the body starts to heal. Unfortunately, many cancer patients who took the chemotherapy drug Taxotere are now experiencing permanent hair loss.
A growing number of the patients have filed suit against French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis, Taxotere’s manufacturer. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) reports that the number of lawsuits has more than tripled since the end of last year – growing from 267 in mid-December to 949 in mid-April. Last October the JPML established a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for permanent hair loss claims in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District for Louisiana.
Taxotere is two times as potent as its safer alternative, Taxol. Bristol-Meyers Squibb manufactures Taxol and despite Sanofi’s previous marketing claims, the two drugs have the same efficacy, according to the Jere Beasley Report. However, unlike Taxotere, Taxol does not destroy hair follicles, allowing the hair to regrow.
Permanent hair loss is more than cosmetic. Many cancer patients see it as an unnecessary side effect that serves as a constant reminder of their struggle.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Taxotere in 1997. Righting Injustice explains that Sanofi knew about the potential side effect and warned patients outside of the U.S. beginning in 2005. However, it did not caution U.S. consumers until 2015 and only after the FDA demanded the manufacturer update the label with a warning.
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Lawyers at Beasley Allen are currently investigating potential cases involving individuals who have suffered permanent hair loss following chemotherapy with Taxotere. For more information on this subject, contact Beau Darley or Melissa Prickett, lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Beau.Darley@beasleyallen.com or Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Jere Beasley Report (November 2016)