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Taxotere Tied to Permanent Hair Loss

Taxotere and Permanent Alopecia – What They Knew, When They Knew It

When you were told that you or a loved one had breast cancer, you undoubtedly found it painful to cope with this devastating news. More than likely, you lacked the desire or strength to research Taxotere (docetaxel), other chemotherapy options, and the potential adverse effects that these drugs could cause. After all, don’t our doctors, the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA know how best to treat medical conditions? Unfortunately, we don’t always know the whole truth until it’s too late.

What They Knew

Taxotere (docetaxel) is a synthetic chemotherapy drug that was introduced to the market in January 2005 by Sanofi-Aventis to treat breast cancer. Unfortunately, women started reporting that after completing chemotherapy treatments, their hair wasn’t growing back. Some women had only wisps of hair, others had just a light fuzz and many were completely bald and didn’t even grow back their eyelashes or eyebrows.

In an article published in the American Journal of Dermatopathology, researchers discovered that six out of ten cancer patients who were diagnosed with permanent alopecia had taken Taxotere. Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado stated that 6.3% of their breast cancer patients grew back less than 50% of their hair after taking Taxotere. In a report published by the Annals of Oncology, scientists proved that, “severe and permanent female hair loss, especially scalp alopecia, is a new and rare cutaneous side-effect of the sequential FEC–docetaxel regimen used for early breast cancer adjuvant treatment.”

When They Knew It

The problems is that Sanofi-Aventis knew that permanent alopecia was a significant risk to its users and warned patients in Europe and Canada. However, it was marketed in the U.S. without a warning FOR TEN YEARS before the FDA had a warning put out in December 2015 (and it was located on page 32 out of 64 pages! Who reads that!?!)

What Can You Do?

Sanofi-Aventis clearly disregarded study findings and patient complaints. They deliberately failed to warn U.S. patients of the risk of permanent alopecia. There are other chemotherapy medications available that do not pose the long term risk of permanent alopecia, but patients weren’t given the full disclosure to make the best choice. If you had breast cancer, were prescribed Taxotere (docetaxel) and were diagnosed with permanent hair loss, you may be able to make a claim. Not only did you suffer from having cancer, but now you are spending countless dollars on expensive wigs or on other products to help you manage this difficult situation. It’s not your fault that you have permanent alopecia and we want to help you to determine if you are able to receive financial compensation.

Taxotere Warnings In The News

BREAKING (6/27/18): 5 Taxotere Bellwether Trials Scheduled for May 2019

According to an Order made by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, the first trial concerning Taxotere and its link to permanent alopecia (hair loss) is scheduled for May 13th – 24th, 2019. Four other trials addressing this same issue also have set court dates: September 16-27, 2019, January 27-February 7, 2020, May 11-22, 2020, and September 14-25, 2020. This is a huge step forward for those who took Taxotere for breast cancer and were never warned about the possibility of never again having a full head of hair.

Read Full Article

FDA Permanent Taxotere Label: Cases of Permanent Alopecia Have Been Reported

Filed Taxotere Complaints & Damages

12/7/17: Rita Alfred v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, et al.
12/14/16: Burns et al v. v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, et al.

GET YOUR FREE Taxotere CASE REVIEW TODAY

Taxotere settlements are now being negotiated, but there is a limited window to pursue help. If you think you, a friend, or a family member may qualify, get your free case review today… before it’s too late!

  • * Submit now to learn if you may be eligible for a cash settlement or call (800) 511-3838 now.

Our in-house legal counsel, Matthew J. Daher, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Utah and his law degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law. Matt has devoted his entire practice to civil litigation, and has spent his career representing the rights of individuals who have been injured by pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical malpractice, defective products, and motor vehicle accidents. As in-house counsel for Periscope Group, Matt leads our internal legal team and liaises with our external partners.

Trademark Info: Taxotere® is a registered trademark of Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC and is used here for informational and product identification purposes only.

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LATEST ARTICLES

Sling Vs. Mesh: What’s the Difference?

Talking about transvaginal mesh (TVM) can be confusing. There are words like “polypropylene,” “mesh migration,” and “pelvic organ prolapse” that can be difficult to understand. Additionally, sometimes words seem interchangeable like “sling” and “mesh.” Here are a few things that you need to know if you have or are thinking about having a TVM implant.

Sling Vs. Mesh: What’s the Difference?

Slings vs. Mesh

First of all, transvaginal mesh – commonly abbreviated to TVM – covers both slings and mesh. TVM is usually made out of a plastic called polypropylene. It looks somewhat like a window screen and the plastic itself is many times used to make fishing line.

Slings are mainly used for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and are commonly referred to as “tapes.” This is because the mesh is cut into a long, thin strip much like a piece of scotch tape. SUI occurs usually in women who have given birth and in women who are 44 years old and older. SUI is when a woman laughs, coughs, or sneezes and then experiences urine leakage. The sling supports the tube that urine passes through (called the urethra) and the neck of your bladder (where your bladder connects to your urethra) to help prevent leaks.

There are also two types of slings: pubovaginal and suburethral. A pubovaginal sling has a minimally invasive surgery involving a small vaginal incision where the sling is placed under the urethra to support the organ. A suburethral sling sits around the urethra and is actually attached to the abdominal wall. This is a more invasive procedure and requires a couple of days in the hospital following the surgery.

Now let’s talk about mesh which is primarily used for pelvic organ prolapse (POP). POP is when some of the vaginal walls are weakened and then the bladder, rectum, small bowel and/or uterus sag near or in the vaginal opening. As you can imagine, it’s going to take a bit more than a skinny tape-like device to hold all these organs back where they belong. Mesh can be used to support these organs like a hammock.

Mesh Complications

Slings and mesh sound great, right? I mean, who wants to leak pee or have their organs protruding from their vagina? However, tens of thousands of complications have been reported among TVM patients including mesh erosion (when the mesh breaks apart), migration (when the mesh moves around in the body), tissue and organ damage (which happens when the sharp edges slice surrounding areas), and dyspareunia (where the mesh lodges in the vagina and causes painful sex). There are other procedures and devices – such as colporrhaphy and pessaries – that don’t have these harmful lasting adverse effects. When you think about it, women have been having babies and have been aging for thousands of years without using harmful TVM. Why is this dangerous device being put in women at all?!

TVM is truly a crime against women. This defective plastic breaks, slices, and creates irreparable damage causing women to no longer be able to work or function in daily tasks due to the excruciating pain. It also harms relationships because of the physical and mental stress it imposes and due to the lack of physical intimacy resulting from broken mesh (if it moves into the vagina, the sharp edges can slice the penis). These women are suffering, embarrassed, angry, and have lost so much… all so that big pharmaceutical companies can make a lot of money.

If you had complications that needed mesh removal, please contact Periscope Group today. We would love to hear your story and we want to help you if we can. TVM is a dangerous product that was never fully tested and has ruined tens of thousands of women’s lives around the world. It’s time that your voice is heard!

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Sources
“Talking about Slings and Meshes. There is a difference!”. Central Florida Urogynecology. Accessed July 30, 2018. http://www.cfurogyn.com/articles/prolapse/SlingsAndMeshes.html
“Sling vs. Mesh: What You Need to Know”. Urogynecology University of Colorado. Accessed July 30, 2018. https://urogyn.coloradowomenshealth.com/blog/sling-vs-mesh
“Colporrhaphy”. Encyclopedia of Surgery. Accessed August 6, 2018. http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/Ce-Fi/Colporrhaphy.html

Medical Device Companies Fail to Accurately Report Health Complications to FDA: Are You At Risk?

16,000 complaints involving Essure – a coil-like permanent birth control device- were reported to its manufacturer, Conceptus Inc., between January 2008 and December 2010. However, during that same time period of time, Conceptus (which was acquired by Bayer AG in 2013) filed only 182 reports of patient harm with the FDA. That’s a mere 1.1%. Worse yet, 750,000 Essure implants were sold worldwide until Bayer voluntarily – no, not recalled – pulled it from market in 2018 due to a 70% decrease in sales. So how can a medical device company get away with only reporting a small fraction of complaints to the FDA? Why was Bayer not penalized by the FDA for their negligence in reporting which put hundreds of thousands of women at risk?

Medical Device Companies Fail to Accurately Report Health Complications to FDA: Are You At Risk?

Problems with the FDA Reporting System

According to an intensive study conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), there are three major flaws involving device companies and the process of reporting to the FDA:

  1. “FDA inspections have found more than 4,400 violations by device companies of its rules for handling complaints and reporting device problems in the last decade. Each violation can include hundreds or even thousands of mishandled complaints.”
  2. “Manufacturers and others required to report adverse events have classified more than 2,200 episodes in which patients died not as deaths but as injuries, malfunctions or other less severe events in the last five years.”
  3. “The FDA has allowed companies to obscure thousands of injury reports using a program called alternative summary reporting that allows them to keep the information from the public.”

Clearly there are far too many loopholes in the approval and management of medical devices that by far benefit the pharmaceutical companies at the cost of patient health. For example, it can be a grey area to determine if the device itself caused a patient death since the body can shut down at various levels. In the case of the manufacturer Thoratec Corp., a patient had a HeartMate II implant which provides circulatory support to patients with advanced heart disease. When the patient died, two suspected causes of death were reported: “suspected pump thrombus,” a device failure caused by a blood clot that blocks the pump, and multisystem organ failure. Thoratec’s report mentions the patient’s death, but cites the incident as an injury and faults organ failure as the cause of death. The obvious question here is did the mechanical failure cause the organs to shut down? One (of the many) problems is that with hundreds of thousands of complaints reported to the FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database, it can be an insurmountable task to thoroughly evaluate each reported event. However, pump blockages were a common enough problem with this device that the FDA issued a safety warning for them in 2015.

Foreign Medical Device Companies

While there’s a laundry list of things wrong with the FDA and how it manages the medical device industry, it’s important to mention that it’s the best agency of its kind in the world. In fact,  Europe’s Eudamed adverse events database is accessible only to regulators and industry professionals, in Chile reporting adverse events is voluntary, and in Mexico this data is hidden from the public. So this brings us to another problem: if the U.S. is having trouble managing its own medical device companies, how are we monitoring foreign made products?

Last year in May 2018, 60 Minutes ran an important story exposing Boston Scientific (makers of transvaginal mesh) and how they smuggled counterfeit polypropylene material from a company in China due to a shortage in the U.S. And there are many layers to this story: not only is polypropylene a fragile material that can erode, migrate, shrink and cause many painful health complications, but an unverified foreign product increases the potential for injuries. When Boston Scientific compared the U.S. approved plastic with the foreign one, this is what they found: “They analyzed 11 different parameters, looking at the two plastics side by side, done, the same tests. Nine of those were different,” cites the 60 Minutes program. “Two were the same, nine were different. And of those nine that were different, four of those parameters were very different. And somehow, from that, they concluded that it was the same material.” Boston Scientific denied all allegations, but more than 48,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company on behalf of injured women.

Do You Have a Medical Device?

Not all medical devices are bad nor are they beneficial. As patients, our job is to be our best advocate. Research your surgery procedure and potential medical device online. Visit your doctor with a list of prepared questions or email your doctors to get the answers that you’re looking for. Weigh the risks and benefits to any procedure to determine the best choice for your health. We also need to speak out against bad medical device companies and FDA loopholes… our health depends on it.

 

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Sources
“How medical device harm is concealed”. ICIJ. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.icij.org/investigations/implant-files/how-medical-device-harm-is-concealed/?fbclid=IwAR0IfmV3sL4dcf7KWT_gP5Ta5XGtjfj-_UD1SVdE6TcKNIrj2ouLPxLGK9c
“Women sounded alarm on Essure birth control device. Now the FDA is cracking down.”. NBC News. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/womens-health/women-sounded-alarm-essure-birth-control-device-now-fda-cracking-n865531
“CBS News’ 60 Minutes Interviews Dr. Duane Priddy for Gynecological Polypropylene Mesh Investigation”. MarketWatch. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/cbs-news-60-minutes-interviews-dr-duane-priddy-for-gynecological-polypropylene-mesh-investigation-2018-05-17

Important Information You Should Know About Medical Implants

From knee replacements to breast implants to IVC filters, there are countless medical devices that are being implanted into millions of people every year. (Kind of reminds me of the 1970’s show The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors.) Even though these types of procedures seem almost commonplace, every surgery is nerve wracking and comes with a certain amount of risk. It’s also important to realize that every medical device and implant comes with benefits and risks beyond the actual surgery itself. Here are some common questions and answers that patients have concerning these devices.

Tens of millions of Americans have medical implants, but what do we really know about these devices? If you have one or are planning to have surgery, read more here.

Is there a difference between a medical implant and medical device?

It seems that these two words are interchangeable, but they can mean different things in the medical world. Generally speaking, a medical implant is something that goes inside your body or connects to your body such as a hip replacement or a mechanism that internally delivers medicine such as a chemotherapy port.

A medical device is the general term that can include implants, but may also be used when referring to medical tools that are used in surgery, bandages to cover wounds, and a wide variety of other medical equipment.

Additionally, drugs are NOT included in either category (although an implant may deliver a drug into the body). If you visit the FDA’s website, you’ll notice a distinct tab for “drugs” and another for “medical devices.” This separation could help you if you plan to research your procedure or if you have to file a complaint down the road.

I’m considering getting a device. What should I research?

Before getting an implant, ALWAYS do your research. It seems simple enough to take your doctor’s advice, because after all, he’s the one with the medical degree and experience, but you are your best advocate and you need to know the benefits and risks to your procedure. For example, millions of women had vaginal mesh put in them and have had to undergo repeated surgeries to fix complications. The mesh is made out of polypropylene which can erode, break apart, migrate, shrink, and cause other painful complications. Equally alarming is that it wasn’t properly tested before becoming the “gold standard” for repairing pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. Knowing these facts could have prevented women around the world from unnecessary pain and devastation.

So here are a few ways to research the safety and effectiveness of your implant:

  • The FDA’s website is a good place to start. At the top right corner you’ll see a search box that says “Search FDA.” Type in the type of implant you’re planning on having (like breast implant, hip implant, vaginal mesh, etc.) and you’ll see a list of topics pop up. Choose the overview page first. If there are any warnings or FDA safety notifications about the product, you’ll see red highlighted text at the top of the page discussing the risks and problems that this device may be having. Scroll down and you’ll usually find what types of implants are available (such as metal, plastic, biologic, etc.), how to prepare for surgery, what risks and adverse effects to be aware of, and how the surgery will be done. But here’s a big problem: The FDA is underfunded and overwhelmed, so the website isn’t always up-to-date!!!!
  • Talk to your surgeon ahead of time and ask what specific brand and model of implant he or she is planning on using, then look it up. Find out how long it’s been on the market, if it was properly tested, can the device be removed if needed, how long will it last, how long did it take for others to start experiencing problems, and if there are lawsuits or recalls on it. You may also want to look into whether there are other options available that are safer and have less risks. Write down all of your questions and concerns and make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor.
  • Check out social media – As you may or may not know, there are specialized groups on social media and where you can ask people who have gone through the procedure about their outcomes. For instance, on Facebook you can type in “hip replacement” and you’ll see links to videos, groups, articles, and photos. You can even join a group and ask questions about recovery time, complications, and more.

My medical device is having a negative effect on my health. How do I report it?

First of all, call your doctor right away if you have any concerns at all. Fever, vomiting, increased pain and other symptoms may the start of a bigger problem. The sooner you address the issue, the better chance you have at recovery. Secondly, ALWAYS get a copy of your medical records whether you’re having complications or not. Not only will they detail your procedure, but it will have a card in it stating exactly what medical device you have including the brand, model, and serial number.

The FDA has a program called MedWatch where you can file a complaint form online. Click the button that says “Consumer/Patient” and you will be guided through a set of questions to share what implant you had and the complications you experienced. This is so important not only to track your own injuries, but to inform the FDA so that they can potentially analyze the data to protect others from harm.

 

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Sources
“Implant Files: Frequently asked questions and resources for readers”. https://www.icij.org/investigations/implant-files/resources-for-patients-and-frequently-asked-questions/

Periscope Group is not owned by or operated on behalf of any attorney or law firm. We are not affiliated with any drug or medical device companies. We do not host advertisements nor do we accept advertising requests. We are here to help YOU, the consumer, become better educated and supported. You pay absolutely nothing for our help. It’s as simple as that.

Periscope Group is not owned by or operated on behalf of any attorney or law firm. We are not affiliated with any drug or medical device companies. We do not host advertisements nor do we accept advertising requests. We are here to help YOU, the consumer, become better educated and supported. You pay absolutely nothing for our help. It’s as simple as that.

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