Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to disclose the long-term risks associated with medications they manufacture. As a patient, it is nearly impossible to make informed decisions about your healthcare if these manufacturers are unwilling to inform the public about the various risks associated with their drugs. Furthermore, when a drug manufacturer attempts to hide or downplay certain long-term risks of their medications, they are essentially putting your health and well-being in danger solely to continue profiting from the sale of drugs these drugs.
Taxotere, the most prescribed chemotherapy drug in the U.S., is a prime example of a medication with serious long-term risks which the manufacturer attempted to hide from the public. Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacture of Taxotere, vaguely warned patients of temporary hair loss with the promise that it would grow back after treatment was complete. Sanofi knew this alleged warning was severely misleading. In the study linked below, Sanofi found that nearly 10% of women who were given Taxotere suffered from permanent hair loss (alopecia).
Sanofi successfully withheld the results of their study from doctors and hospitals in the United States, likely fearing patients would be less willing to use their product if they knew there was a significant risk of permanent alopecia.
All of us, particularly those who have battled aggressive cancer, deserve an honest explanation of the risks involved with the medications we are prescribed. Drug manufacturers who value profit over their customers well-being must be held accountable if we want an efficient and effective healthcare system.
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