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Lawsuit Claims Sanofi-Aventis Hid Side Effects of Breast Cancer Drug Taxotere

Posted by Sarah Showard | Apr 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

Lawsuit Claims Sanofi-Aventis Hid Side Effects of Breast Cancer Drug Taxotere

A California lawsuit claims that the maker of a widely used breast cancer drug hid harmful side effects, including permanent hair loss, and misrepresented the benefits of using the drug.

The suit filed by Ami Dodson claims that Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel), aggressively marketed its drug without noting harmful side effects, including permanent hair loss and increased toxicity compared with similar drugs used to treat breast cancer.

It is estimated that of the almost three million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S., 75% were prescribed Taxotere. A breast cancer research group (GEICAM) study sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis showed that 9.2% of patients who took Taxotere suffered hair loss lasting more than 10 years. That hair loss can occur over the entire body.

A 2006 independent study determined that up to 6.3% of patients on Taxotere grew back less than 50% of their hair. Although alopecia is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not. Another study published in 2013 by the National Cancer Research Institute found permanent hair loss as a side effect in 10-15% of Taxotere users.

In the complaint, Dodson said that Sanofi-Aventis hid the results of this study and “preyed on one of the most vulnerable groups of individuals at the most difficult time in their lives. 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.”

The FDA approved Taxotere in 1996 for use in treating breast cancer. Subsequently, the drug was approved for use in treating other cancers, including head, neck, gastric, prostate and non-small cell lung cancer. In December 2015, the FDA ordered Sanofi-Aventis to update its labeling on Taxotere to include the potential for permanent hair loss.

Showard Law Firm is Tucson's local law firm for defective drug and medical device claims.  If you believe you or a loved one have been harmed by a medication or medical device, contact us for a free consultation.

About the Author

Sarah Showard

Sarah Showard graduated from the University of Maryland in 1985, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English-Linguistics and a Certification in Women's Studies. She then graduated from New York University School of Law in 1988. Sarah began practice initially as an insurance defense attorney, and has been representing plaintiffs since 1990. Sarah has a son, Benjamin, who recently graduated from The Gregory School and will attend ASU in the fall, with future plans to attend law school and eventually join Showard Law Firm. In her spare time Sarah enjoys horseback riding and spending time in Sonoita with her husband Peter.

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Showard Law Firm is dedicated to compassionate representation for our clients who have been injured by defective products, dangerous drugs or the negligence of any individual or company. We are experienced in litigation and ready to ensure you receive the maximum possible settlement for your injuries, medical bills, mental anguish and other losses.

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2016 marked the 10th anniversary of Showard Law Firm. After 18 years of practice, and a prior ten-year partnership, Sarah Showard and her longtime assistant, Maria De La Rosa, opened the doors of Showard Law Firm in October 2006. Sarah and everyone at Showard Law Firm is proud to serve Southern Arizona as the local law firm for defective drug and medical device claims and personal injury.