Women Are Fighting Back Against a Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Drug According to Consume Safety Watch


Taxotere is a synthetic chemotherapy drug often used to treat breast cancer. According to critics and the FDA, it was incorrectly 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 allegedly pushed out inaccurate marketing material to doctors and other medical decision makers stating that their drug was more effective than the existing drug of choice, Taxol, even though, according to the FDA, it is actually equally effective at best. The FDA later stated it was not more effective than the competitor Taxol and subsequently sent Sanofi-Aventis a letter reprimanding them for their unethical and illegal business practices and ordering them to stop. 

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

Alan Christopher, Consumer Safety Advocate

Sanofi-Aventis also 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 they continued to keep this information from doctors and patients in the United States until 2015. 

According to consumer safety advocate Alan Christopher, "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 sometimes creates an environment that encourages the burying of side effects in an effort to protect profits.

Source: Consumer Safety Watch