Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer typically don’t have a lot of time to research their options when it comes to chemotherapy drugs. Misleading marketing may persuade them to be treated with powerful drugs that may have serious side-effects. Even if these medications have detailed and comprehensive safety warnings, the consumer may not receive this information before treatment.
Unfortunately, some drug providers fail to meet the minimum standards when communicating the risks of a medication. Too often, patients suffer the most from this negligence. Drug manufacturers who fall short on their obligation to provide clear information regarding a drug’s risks can be held liable for malpractice and victims and their families may receive compensation for their losses.
The Previously Hidden Effects of Taxotere
Taxotere is one drug that has received much scrutiny lately. Taxotere is commonly prescribed to treat several forms of cancer. Taxotere was first approved by the FDA for use in breast cancer treatments in 1996. Since that time, the drug has also been approved for treatment of:
- Prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
Many allege that Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of Taxotere, was aware of side effects of Taxotere that were not initially made known to consumers and medical professionals. The company has faced several lawsuits alleging that it failed to share research that could warn patients of these risks. Since the company came under scrutiny, label changes made throughout the years have noted new side effects such as respiratory and vision disturbances, as well as permanent alopecia (hair loss). Although Taxotere had been on the market for nearly two decades, it wasn’t until 2015 that permanent alopecia was included on the drug’s labels.
Why Is Taxotere So Popular?
While temporary loss of hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic area, arms, and legs is a common side effect of cancer treatments, the permanent loss of a patient’s hair is not. This disfigurement—especially when permanent—can cause patients to suffer from self-image issues and can harm their abilities to move on from the experience and re-establish normalcy in their lives.
Many other medications are available that are as effective as Taxotere—if not more so—and are not linked to permanent hair loss. However, despite its traumatic effects, the drug continues to be one of the most-prescribed treatments for certain cancers. The drug’s popularity is likely due to two factors: its treatment plan, which requires patients to seek treatment less often than with other medications, and deceitful marketing that has masked the drug’s risks.
Inconsistent Research Findings
In contrast with the company’s private research, which claims that only three percent of patients taking Taxotere experience permanent hair loss, an independent study has found the side effect to be prevalent in 10 to 15 percent of these patients. These inconsistencies raise questions concerning the integrity of the company’s initial research, leading many to seek legal action for the harmful effects of this allegedly false claim.
Your Legal Rights
When a drug company deceives the public or fails to perform sufficient research to warn people of associated risks, it can be held liable for its actions—or inaction. The drug company that caused your suffering may be responsible for:
- Inadequate safety testing
- Failing to test for harmful or negative side effects
- Non-disclosure of risks
- Leaving out important information in advertising or marketing efforts
- Downplaying risks
Drug companies must be held accountable. Victims who believe that they were deceived or were not given adequate information prior to taking Taxotere may seek compensation for disfigurement and other losses.
Malpractice can be difficult to prove when faced against large companies. The need to perform extensive research on a technical topic can also be a challenge to victims who believe they deserve to be compensated for their suffering. An attorney can ensure that you don’t go through it alone. To learn more, visit our legal blog today.