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Taxotere (docetaxel) is a popular chemotherapy drug manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventis.  Doctors prescribe the drug to treat the majority of breast cancer cases in the U.S., and each year about 300,000 women are diagnosed with the disease.  The drug is also the most prescribed drug in its class.  In 2009, Taxotere made over $3 billion for Sanofi before the company lost patent protection.

Side effects of the breast cancer drug Taxotere may cause some women to suffer permanent baldness or hair loss, known as alopecia.  Lawsuits are being pursued against the drug maker for failing to adequately warn about this potential risk.  While many cancer drugs cause hair loss, it appears that Sanofi-Aventis knew or should have known that use of their treatment carried a high risk of permanent baldness or alopecia.  Rather than providing warnings and information, lawsuits allege that the drug maker has concealed this information.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also taken note of these reports of permanent hair loss in Taxotere patients.  Between June 2013 and December 2015, a host of adverse side effects were officially linked to Taxotere and its generic equivalent.  As a result of these issues, the FDA asked the makers of Taxoteres and Docetaxel to list permanent hair loss as a potential side effect on their warning labels.

The Taxotere lawsuits allege that drugmaker Sanofi:

  • Knew or should have known about Taxotere alopecia side effects and provided proper warnings.
  • Did not adequately test Taxotere to determine its risks.
  • Was negligent in its design, manufacture, and marketing of Taxotere.
  • Sold an unsafe, defective, and inherently dangerous drug.
  • Had a duty to create a product that was not unreasonably dangerous when used as intended.
  • Caused plaintiffs to suffer permanent alopecia as a result of its acts and omissions.

Analysis collected from cancer survivors who suffered permanent hair loss reported a much lower quality of life and many claimed that permanent hair loss was one of the worse side effects they endured.  Survivors who sustained permanent hair loss also stated an increase in anxiety, a negative impact on their social and intimate relationships, financial strain, extreme embarrassment, and a general loss of life enjoyment.

The permanent loss of hair is more than cosmetic.  For breast cancer survivors, it is a constant reminder of their struggle.  For them, life will never be the same.  The loss is emotional, physical and financial.


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