April 25, 2016 — A woman from Colorado who developed permanent hair loss after undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere (docetaxel) has filed a lawsuit accusing drug-makers of failing to warn about the risk.
The lawsuit (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for Colorado on March 30, 2016 (Case No. 1:16-cv-00714) against Sanofi-Aventis.
The plaintiff, Melissa F. Leith, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2012. After the diagnosis, she met with her oncologist to discuss further treatment.
Unfortunately, Leith was never warned about the risk of permanent hair loss from Taxotere, and was given the chemotherapy drug from February 2013 through April 2013. Following treatment was completed, she suffered from disfiguring permanent alopecia.
Sanofi-Aventis is accused of putting corporate profits above public health. According to the complaint:
“Defendants obtained billions of dollars in increased revenues at the expense of unwary cancer victims simply hoping to survive their condition and return to a normal life.”
It was not until December 2015 that the FDA updated the label on Taxotere to include permanent alopecia. However, a growing number of lawsuits say Sanofi-Aventis knew about the risk much earlier.
For example, Taxotere labels in Europe and Canada were updated to include permanent hair loss in 2005 and 2012, respectively. In 2005, results of the GEICAM 9805 clinical trial estimated that 9.2% of women with breast cancer who were given Taxotere as part of the TAC regimen could experience permanent hair loss.
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