An overwhelming number of breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have been prescribed Docetaxel due to its incredible popularity. Also marketed under the name of Taxotere, the medication gained favor on false pretenses when women were assured it was more effective than the available alternatives and hid serious side effects from the public eye. As women endured traumatic blows to their body image because of massive and permanent hair loss; the drug manufacturer raked in billions of dollars of profit— exceeding $3 billion in 2009 alone. The Chicago Taxotere injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are currently reviewing numerous clients’ cases as people continue to come forward with their claims and may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Taxotere Owes Success to Deceit and Exploitation of Vulnerable Women
Around 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and chemotherapy is a popular and common part of treatment plans aimed at destroying cancer cells and preventing their spread. While Taxotere is the most prescribed chemotherapy medication for the treatment of breast cancer, it is not the only medication of its kind on the market. The reasons for its success are extremely suspect.
One of the most viable alternatives to Taxotere is a medication that has been on the market for much longer called Paclitaxel. Studies have proven that Paclitaxel is just as effective as Docetaxel, but it needs to be administered on a weekly basis. Taxotere gained notoriety because women could elect to receive it once every three weeks instead. The drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, played on the emotions of women by promising less frequent treatments, knowing how uncomfortable chemotherapy can be for some people.
The incentive for doctors to recommend Taxotere is that it is more convenient and efficient, requiring fewer patient visits to achieve the same results. Most of the doctors prescribing the medication were unaware of its harmful side effects, assuming that the effects were similar to what women experience under alternatives.
Even though Sanofi-Aventis became aware of serious side effects linked to their medication, they hid the information from the public, knowing that women would be less likely to choose Taxotere if they knew about the risks. This concealment of information has opened the door to liability claims because consumers have the right to be informed of any potential for adverse reactions prior to being marketed a medication.
Hair Loss Experienced During Treatment May Become Permanent
It is common knowledge that hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, but in most cases, patients regrow their lost hair soon after their treatments end. Almost one in ten women prescribed Taxotere were shocked to find that their hair never grew back. This condition is known as alopecia and victims suffered for decades as their hair never returned. Thousands of women became enraged when learning that Sanofi-Aventis was not only aware of the potential their drug had for causing permanent hair loss, but that the company falsely marketed the medication as a more effective and convenient alternative to medications that did not have similar effects.
Case studies have revealed that while patients on Paclitaxel were required to receive the medication more frequently, they experienced much milder side effects and the rate of long term alopecia was much lower. Doctors routinely inform women to expect hair loss when undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, but they also inform them that their hair is likely to return afterward. Had women been notified of Taxotere’s risks, they would have either elected to receive a different treatment option or prepared themselves for the possibility of permanent hair loss.
Sanofi-Aventis Deliberately Misled Doctors and Patients about Taxotere Studies
Near the turn of the century, the GEICAM 9805 study was conducted under the sponsorship of Sanofi-Aventis to determine and record the most common side effects linked to Taxotere. Among other discoveries, it was noted that the study revealed by the year 2005 that almost 10% of women using the medication suffered hair loss that lasted for more than 10 years. A later study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center the next year showed that 6% of women treated with Taxotere would never grow hair on their heads again.
Despite these developments, doctors and patients were not only warned about the potential for long term alopecia, but their fears were assuaged by claims that their hair would definitely grow back in time. While the permanent loss of hair is not a life threatening side effect, it has a profound impact on a woman’s quality of living.
The Emotional and Financial Toll of Living with Alopecia
Numerous studies have revealed that hair loss is the one side effect of chemotherapy treatment that causes the most anxiety for women. There are a number of ways permanent hair loss can have a negative impact on a woman’s quality of life, despite any measures available to treat or conceal the condition. The first is that it reminds cancer survivors of their suffering every time they look into a mirror, bringing back unpleasant memories and making it nearly impossible to move past them. It then impacts their body image and makes them insecure around others, who may make judgements on their appearance or react cruelly if they discover the baldness.
Alopecia treatments have proven to be both costly and ineffective for these women and while the finest wigs, scarves and head dressings may be able to fool others, victims constantly feel as though they will always look like a cancer patient. This has a real impact on their self-esteem, sexuality, social interactions and confidence in the workplace. 40% of women suffering from permanent hair loss in a study were considered to be suffering from severe impairment related to anxiety, emotional distress and depression.
Claims Made Against Taxotere Manufacturers
Thousands of women have already come forward with lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis on the grounds that the company partook in deceptive marketing practices and exploited vulnerable women with false assurances. The claims made include the following.
- The medication was marketed without sufficient case studies or trials. Claimants allege that Sanofi-Aventis failed to adequately research the effects of Taxotere before rushing it to market.
- The manufacturer peddled the medication without care for whether it was safe. Even after learning of the risks, the manufacturer continued to market it without any written or oral warning.
- Sanofi-Aventis intentionally misled consumers through written media and television marketing by concealing important information and making false claims.
- The adverse effects of the medication were downplayed so that consumers would dismiss them while considering their treatment options.
- Doctors and patients never received warnings. All Sanofi-Aventis needed to do was disclose the risks associated with Taxotere so that patients could determine for themselves whether they were prepared to take the risk.
- Making the egregious claim that women’s hair would grow back despite knowing that there was a significant chance it never would.
Our Chicago Taxotere injury lawyers are just as livid as our clients when large pharmaceutical companies exploit the public and make billions off of other peoples’ suffering. It is for that reason we are unwavering in our mission to hold these companies accountable by demanding restitution for their deliberately negligent deeds.
Let us Review Your Case for Free
We are anticipating the potential for a class-action against Sanofi-Aventis due to its popularity and widespread use over the last two decades. If you are suffering from long term or permanent hair loss following chemotherapy, this is the best time to have your case reviewed by an experienced and qualified lawyer. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a leading personal injury law firm serving the Chicago area and we owe our success to our resources, determination and attentive relationship with our clients.
Contact us today to be connected with an award winning Chicago Taxotere injury attorney and we will gather all of the information we need to be able to give your case a fair evaluation. Once we have had the opportunity to investigate your claim, we can review your legal options, let you know about the progress of current litigation and answer all of your questions so that you know what to expect. We work on a contingency basis so that anyone can retain quality legal services without worry of whether they can afford it. This means our services are free if we don’t collect damages for you.