A California woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Sanofi SA alleging that it knew about an increased risk of permanent hair loss (alopecia) and other serious side effects with its breast cancer medication Taxotere, but went to great lengths to hide the problem and promote the drug’s alleged superiority.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one went bald, suffered permanent hair loss or alopecia from Taxotere, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
Update: California Woman Alleges Permanent Alopecia from Taxotere
August 23, 2016 – A breast cancer survivor who allegedly suffered permanent disfiguring alopecia after undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere has filed a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturers. Plaintiff Danah Anderson holds Sanofi S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A., and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC responsible because they allegedly had knowledge of the side effects of Taxotere but failed to adequately warn of these risks. The complaint was filed August 12 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California under case number 2:16-cv-06046.
What’s the Problem?
March 17, 2016 – Plaintiff Ami Dodson claims Sanofi, Aventis Pharma SA and Sanofi-Aventis US LLC collaborated in a long-running scheme to increase sales of Taxotere – a plan that caused thousands of cancer patients to develop serious side effects including permanent hair loss.
“Defendants [preyed] on one of the most vulnerable groups of individuals at the most difficult time in their lives,” Dodson said in 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.”
The alleged scheme began in 1996, the year Taxotere received approval from the FDA. According to the lawsuit, Sanofi instructed its employees to misrepresent the safety and effectiveness of Taxotere’s “off-label” uses to increase its marketability, and then paid kickbacks to healthcare providers in order to persuade them to prescribe the drug for unapproved purposes.
As a result, sales of Taxotere skyrocketed from $424 million in 2000 to $1.4 billion in 2004, largely as a result of marketing based on self-sponsored clinical trials.
“Contrary to defendants’ claims of superior efficacy, post-market surveillance has shown that the more potent and more toxic Taxotere does not, in fact, offer increased efficacy or benefits over other taxanes, as defendants have claimed and advertised,” Dodson said. “Defendants concealed the existence of studies from the FDA, physicians and patients that refuted defendants’ claims.”
One of these studies was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2008, and found that a rival cancer medication was more effective for certain patients, but Sanofi et. al. continued to lie about Taxotere’s “superior efficacy,” according to Dodson, adding that the drugmaker’s practices resulted in a warning letter from the FDA a year later.
Although temporary hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs, permanent hair loss (alopecia) is not, and although Sanofi knew or should have known that Taxotere’s rate of permanent alopecia was higher than with other cancer treatment medications, the drugmaker still misled the public about whether hair would grow back.
According to the lawsuit, Sanofi has been aware since at least the late 1990s of a study which found 9.2% of people who used Taxotere lost their hair for more than a decade but withheld this information, providing only vague warnings that “hair generally grows back.”
Although Sanofi published data overseas regarding Taxotere’s link to permanent alopecia, this information was not shared with U.S. consumers, according to Dodson. A former Sanofi employee has also filed a qui tam lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania accusing the drugmaker of engaging in a fraudulent marketing scheme and paying kickbacks in relation to Taxotere. Dodson’s complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under case number 3:16-cv-01251.
Do I Have a Taxotere Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Taxotere lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new hair loss and alopecia cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you were injured by Taxotere side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.