Taxotere is a synthetic chemotherapy drug often used to treat breast cancer. It was falsely promoted by its manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, as a more effective treatment option than the already established chemotherapy drug Taxol.
As a later to market drug, the Sanofi-Aventis sales team illegally pushed inaccurate marketing material to doctors and other medical decision makers stating that their drug was more effective than Taxol even though it was actually equally effective at best. The FDA later stated it was not more effective than their competitor Taxol and subsequently sent Sanofi-Aventis a letter reprimanding them for their unethical and illegal business practices.
Sanofi-Aventis also intentionally failed to warn doctors and women about the risk of permanent hair loss associated with this drug even though they were aware of this devastating side effect as early as 2002 and very likely earlier.
Sanofi-Aventis had warned doctors and patients in Europe as early as 2005, and issued warnings in Canada in 2012 about the risk of permanent hair loss from Taxotere. Yet due to what can only be described as profits before lives behavior they continued to keep this information from doctors and patients in the United States until 2015.
According to documents filed in current litigation, the company sought to bury the risk of permanent hair loss in cancer patients to increase sales, a scheme that had a real impact on health outcomes. Many patients were never told about the less-expensive, equally effective alternative drug, Taxol. A BreastCancer.org study shows that women who received the less expensive drug, Taxol, had a higher survival rate than women who were treated with Taxotere.
While temporary hair loss is a recognized and accepted side effect of chemotherapy treatments, permanent baldness should not be when there are options that are as effective or more effective with less severe side effects. This information should have been made available to women and their doctors so they could have made a more informed choice.
If you or a loved one has suffered breast cancer, it is important to know the real facts about the success rates and side effects of your treatment options. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry by nature often creates an environment that encourages deceit and coverups of devastating side effects in an effort to protect or maximize profits. It has often been described as a profits before lives industry.