Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the life of every patient who is prescribed their drugs for any length of time. Not only are these manufacturers held to a high standard of care for each and every patient, but they must be transparent about any potential harm that may come to patients due to the medications they manufacture. The standard of care lies in everything from “filler” ingredients (ingredients outside the active drug) to create the oral medication to potential contaminants in IV therapies. Transparency can be as simple as a warning label advising patients with certain allergies that they made suffer a reaction from the drug, to warnings of more sinister side effects that could arise–no matter how rare those side effects may be.
When pharmaceutical companies (known to wide online audience as “Big Pharma”) fail to disclose side effects they were aware of in any phase of producing the drug, they are what’s considered “liable” for any harm that comes to patients who take the drug. Pharmaceutical companies must be transparent in their disclosures to patients, who in turn can make more educated health decisions based on being provided with the whole picture, not just a small part. Purposeful concealment of side effects that may risk the profits of the pharmaceutical company poses a public safety risk to patients who are already ill. Profit should never come before the patient, but unfortunately not every company can be honest when touting themselves as trustworthy.
Deceitful marketing, false hope
An example of this deceitful practice of profit-over-patients–withholding known side effects of a drug can be linked to drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis. Sanofi-Aventis produced the chemotherapy drug Taxotere–a drug created to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, end stage stomach cancer, cancers of the head and neck as well as metastatic prostate cancer. This drug was meant to provide hope to those diagnosed with cancer. This drug also may have been a last resort for women and men who still had life to live.
While Taxotere listed its side effects (all of which were similar to any chemotherapy regimen) it greatly downplayed their severity, opening the door for Sanofi being accused of false advertising (and in turn false hope) and representing their drug as “more successful” than other chemotherapy regimens. Instead of doing what was promised, Taxotere dramatically destroyed the lives of those who were treated with it. Sanofi-Aventis is responsible for hundreds of cases of Alopecia (a form of permanent hair loss) in patients who were prescribed their drug as part of their chemotherapy regimen, hoping to finally be cancer-free.
According to consumersafety.org:
“Though it has been on the market for several decades now, it wasn’t until more recently that the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi, began to face a mounting number of lawsuits from breast cancer patients and survivors because of false marketing and the severe side effects of the treatment. As of the most recent report, the company is facing 7,820 pending lawsuits.“
Quality of life diminished
Those who have bravely battled cancer know that hair loss is a common and unavoidable side effect of chemotherapy–and ultimately the road to remission. Men and women afflicted with this tragic side effect put their hope in pharmaceutical companies that provide new and more advanced treatments for their diagnosis. Cancer diminishes the quality of life of those afflicted, leaving exhausted, nauseas, chronic pain-suffering individuals in the place of the loved one family members once knew. These families trust that those caring for their sick loved one have their best interest at heart.
It’s a time of joy and celebration when a patient is referred to as “NED” or “No Evidence of Disease”. This means they can begin to live again, free of the disease that almost took their life. For many women, knowing that their hair will regrow in 3-6 months post-chemotherapy provides hope as well. However, when drugmakers such as Sanofi deceitfully market a product they knew the side effects of were far more extreme than they let on, these women have their hope and sense of self-esteem stolen all over again. A woman who survives cancer, only to have to live the rest of her new life without the hair she lost due to strong chemotherapy will never fully regain her quality of life.
Mental anguish, self esteem, and the right to compensation
The mental anguish suffered by those who suffered the greed of Sanofi-Aventis is unyielding. Not only were the side effects of chemotherapy worse than initially presented, but having to live with permanent hair loss means the pain and suffering will never end for them. A loss of self esteem doesn’t have a dollar figure, but each and every person who suffered the hidden side effects of a drug that was promised to give them back their life deserves to be compensated to the fullest extent of the law.
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Learn more about the harmful effects of Taxotere by visiting our Class Action website at classactionlawsuit.legal