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Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuit Filed

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Santa Clara, CA: Sanofi-Aventis is facing a defective product lawsuit alleging its cancer drug Taxotere (Docetaxel) causes hair loss. Filed by Erma Spann, the lawsuit claims Sanofi withheld important information from patients about the potential long-term side effects of Taxotere.


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Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuit

Spann alleges she has experienced on-going and permanent hair loss after undergoing chemotherapy involving Taxotere following a right breast partial mastectomy in February 2005.

Spann further alleges that Sanofi-Aventis knew or should have known that, unlike other cancer drugs, Taxotere had a high risk of permanent baldness, known as alopecia. She asserts that rather than issuing warnings regarding the potential for hair loss Sanofi concealed the information, depriving her and other patients of the opportunity to decide whether the risk of permanent baldness was justified.

“Although women might accept the possibility of permanent baldness as a result of the use of Taxotere if no other product were available to treat their cancer, this was not the case,” Spann states in the complaint. “Before Defendants’ wrongful conduct resulted in thousands of women being exposed to the side effects of Taxotere, there were already similar products on the market that were at least as effective as Taxotere and did not subject female users to the same risk of disfiguring permanent alopecia as does Taxotere.”

The lawsuit cites a study published in 2005, known as GEICAM 9805, that found nearly 10% of patients who took Taxotere suffered permanent hair loss. The manufacturers were aware of that study and of observations by a Denver-based oncologist in 2006, which found that more than 6% of his Taxotere patients suffered permanent hair loss.

“Despite Defendants’ knowledge of the relevant findings from the GEICAM 9805 study, as well as reports from patients who had taken Taxotere and suffered from permanent disfiguring hair loss, Defendants failed to provide accurate information and proper warnings to physicians, healthcare providers, and patients in the United States, including Plaintiff, that patients who take Taxotere are at a significantly increased risk of suffering from permanent disfiguring hair loss,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, Defendants chose to withhold this information in the United States despite advising physicians, patients, and regulatory agencies in other countries, including the European Union and Canada, that Taxotere causes an increased risk of permanent disfiguring hair loss.”

According to the lawsuit, Taxotere warnings continue to vaguely and misleadingly indicate that “hair generally grows back” after use of the drug.

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