February 3, 2017 – A new study has raised concerns that the controversial drug Taxotere may not only cause more side effects than competing drug Tecentriq, but may also have lower survival rates.
Taxotere (docetaxel) was introduced to the public by manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis in 1996. Taxotere is a taxane-based, high potency drug that was to be an alternative to Taxol, a low-potency taxane, commonly used in treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Tecentriq (atezolizumab) was approved for treatment of metastic non-small lung cancer for certain patients in October, 2016. It is manufactured by Roche Group’s Genentech subsidiary.
Last month, medical journal The Lancet published results of a multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trial performed by researchers from the U.S. and European Union. It found Taxotere to be associated with more severe and frequent side effects as well as lesser chances of overall survival when compared to Tecentriq.
In the study, researchers found a median overall survival rate of 13.8 months for patients who received Tecentriq for treatment of lung cancer, compared to 9.6 months for patients who received Taxotere. It was also found that just 15% of patients who had received Tecentriq experienced grade 3 or 4 adverse events, compared to 43% of those who had received Taxotere.
These findings coincide with a growing number of lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis concerning Taxotere, as women continue to come forward blaming permanent hair loss (alopecia) on the drug when used in treatment for breast cancer. Plaintiffs in those cases allege that the drug manufacturer failed to warn the public, medical communities and the FDA about the risk of alopecia. They also claim that Taxotere is no more effective than other breast cancer drugs that are not associated with the same risk and that the drug maker made false and misleading statements that encouraged medical providers to choose Taxotere over alternative treatment options. Allegedly warnings were given in other countries about the risk of alopecia but not in the United States.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all Taxotere hair loss cases in October, 2016, which will centralize litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana for pretrial proceedings and “bellwether” trials. A bellwether trial is a trial that helps guage how a jury may respond to certain repeated evidence and testimony.
Over 700 complaints are currently pending in the Taxotere MDL but it is expected that the case load will grow to several thousand.
Read more about the current Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss Lawsuit here.