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The Dangers of Taxotere


Taxotere is a breast cancer chemotherapy drug that is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. In lawsuits numbering in the hundreds, plaintiffs claim the company neglected to issue warnings to them about the risk of losing their hair due to the drug.

Late last year, the federal judge in charge of the litigation issued a Pretrial Order to create Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ Settlement Committees. The committees are responsible for meeting regularly to arrive at agreements, set forth possible regulations, expected relief, required approvals and eventually financial aspects. Although there is no guarantee that the parties will reach a settlement, if the parties can come to an agreement, they may subsequently settle the case.

It was in 1996 that Taxotere received its initial approval from the FDA. It is used to treat many kinds of cancer, but is typically used in the treatment of breast cancer. Although all chemotherapy drugs can potentially cause temporary hair loss, Taxotere has caused some women to suffer alopecia, or permanent hair loss.

There are other chemotherapy medications that are just as effective as Taxotere and that do not cause permanent hair loss. However, Taxotere is the medication that is most widely used for treating breast cancer. Sanofi-Aventis knew since 2004 that Taxotere could bring about permanent hair loss. The company issued a warning to physicians in Europe and Canada, but did not admonish doctors in the U.S. until 2015. However, its failure to warn American doctors and patients has resulted in product liability lawsuits that could prove very expensive.

One such lawsuit was filed in 2010 by Ann Dodson in San Francisco. She received a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer, and had a partial mastectomy to get rid of the cancer. Her oncologist recommended chemotherapy treatment using Taxotere. She was expected to fully recover and live a normal life. However, she experienced permanent hair loss, as have thousands of women after using the drug to treat their illness. According to her attorney, Taxotere kills the hair follicles.

Sanofi marketed Taxotere as more effective than another drug called Taxol. But a study conducted in 2008 by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that Taxol is just as, if not more, effective than Taxotere.

If you were injured to a dangerous or unsafe drug, call the product liability attorneys at Calcagno & Associates.

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