Taxotere is the brand name of docetaxel, a chemotherapy medication used to treat various types of cancer, including cancer that affects the breasts, head and neck, stomach, prostate, and non small-cell lung. Like most chemotherapy drugs, it does have side effects most patients experience when injected with it, including low blood cell counts, numbness, shortness of breath, vomiting, muscle pain, allergic reactions, and future cancers. Alopecia (hair loss) is another side effect that it has, although one patient is suing after the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, failed to warn of this particular side effect.
Erma Spann, a patient who was treated with Taxotere after a right breast partial mastectomy in February of 2005, has experienced ongoing and permanent alopecia after her chemotherapy treatment. Spann alleges Sanofi withheld relevant information about the potential long-term effects associated with Taxotere. Additionally, she claims Sanofi knew or should have known that, unlike other cancer drugs, Taxotere had a high risk of permanent baldness. Rather than issuing warnings regarding the potential alopecia, Sanofi allegedly concealed the information, depriving Spann and other patients like her of the decision to risk permanent baldness.
In her complaint, Spann argues that although women might accept the possibility of alopecia being a side effect if no other product were available to treat their cancer, there were other options. Other products were on the market that were at least as effective as Taxotere and did not subject women to the same risk of permanent alopecia as the drug.
The suit also cites a 2005 study that found nearly 10% of patients who took the drug suffered alopecia as a result. The manufacturers were aware of the study and observations by a Denver-based oncologist in 2006, which found more than 6% of his Taxotere patients suffered permanent alopecia.
Spann argues despite Sanofi’s knowledge of relevant findings and reports from patients who had already taken Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss; the manufacturer failed to provide accurate information and proper warnings to doctors, health care providers, and patients in the United States. Instead, they decided to withhold this information in the United States despite advising doctors, patients, and regulatory agencies in other countries, including the European Union and Canada.
If you or a loved one was permanently affected by Taxotere, call us as soon as possible. Kaiser Gornick, LLP has more than 50 years of combined experience representing people who have been harmed by defective and dangerous products. Our firm has a great track record of winning hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements in a wide variety of cases and providing an excellent level of client service. Our skilled San Francisco product liability attorneys are experienced fighting big businesses and firms, such as the pharmaceutical industry, in order to get fair compensation for our clients. Big business should be held accountable for negligent and irresponsible actions. Defective medical devices and improper labeling are unacceptable from an industry designed to help people with their health and wellness, particularly if using their devices led to a necessity for further expensive treatments. Let us see what we can do for you.
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