Sanofi-Aventis faces another lawsuit alleging that its chemotherapy drug Taxotere led to permanent hair loss, or alopecia. The suit accuses the drug maker of failing to adequately warn about the risk of irreversible hair loss. The plaintiff is a California woman who was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2010. She underwent six cycles of chemotherapy with Taxotere in 2011. Allegedly, she did not realize she developed continuing hair loss until 2016.
According to the lawsuit, Sanofi failed to warn the plaintiff, her doctor and the public about the risk of permanent baldness with Taxotere. The lawsuit alleges that, because the Taxotere label fails to list permanent hair loss or alopecia as a potential side effect, thousands of patients were unfairly exposed to this risk.
The plaintiff alleges eleven counts against the drug maker, including product liability for negligence, manufacturing defect, failure to warn and extreme and outrageous conduct/intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hair loss is a known side effect of chemotherapy, but it is expected to grow back in most cases. Chemotherapy drugs target rapidly dividing cells in the body; this interferes with the growth of cancer cells, but can affect healthy cells as well. Hair follicles grow quickly, which is why hair growth is impaired by chemotherapy.
There are risks and benefits with every drug. Doctors and patients need the most current information in order to make an informed decision for the patient’s health. The lawsuit alleges that Sanofi-Aventis failed to inform the public about the risk of permanent hair loss, leading consumers and the medical community to believe that the hair loss was temporary. The lawsuit also alleges that Sanofi-Aventis omitted important safety data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).