Thanks to its proven effectiveness and soaring sales, Taxotere (docetaxel) has been in and out of the news since the mid-1990s, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved it for the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and gastric cancer. However, in late 2015, Taxotere began making headlines for something other than its cancer-fighting properties. In response to reports from doctors and patients, the FDA added information about the risk of permanent hair loss, known as alopecia, to Taxotere's product labeling.
Hundreds of former Taxotere patients are currently suing the drug's manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, and these cases are making progress in U.S. District Court.
Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss
Most cancer patients who go through chemotherapy know to expect some pretty significant hair loss. However, most patients anticipate that their hair will grow back a few months after they stop treatment. For Taxotere patients affected by permanent hair loss, coming to terms with the fact their hair may never grow back can be extremely distressing.
For many women, their hair is closely linked to their identity, self-esteem and feelings of desirability.
For others, the permanent lack of hair is upsetting because
it's a perpetual reminder of their cancer; they look
in the mirror and see their brush with death.
Taxotere Lawsuit Allegations
The individual Taxotere lawsuits are strikingly similar. Many of the lawsuits that Sanofi-Aventis face claim the company continued to manufacture and market Taxotere as a superior chemotherapy treatment, even though their internal studies showed that as many as 10 percent of women were at risk of developing permanent alopecia.
Many of the plaintiffs claim that by hiding risks associated with Taxotere, Sanofi-Aventis prevented them from making educated decisions regarding their treatment.
Taxotere Litigation Progress
In 2016, a number of former Taxotere patients, primarily women, filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis.
In October 2016, with 33 actions pending in 16 districts, and 56 related actions pending in 25 districts, the Taxotere litigation was consolidated into multi-district legislation with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, with Judge Lance M. Africk presiding.
In a December 21, 2016 order, the court directed counsel to draft and submit a Common Benefit Order by Friday, January 6 to ensure the plaintiffs' attorneys are compensated for work they did which will benefit all patients. The order also tasked counsel to submit proposed plaintiff and defendant fact sheets by January 13th and confer with opposing counsel to schedule a day of science presentations related to the litigation.
A subsequent February 10 order instructed counsel to submit Master and Short Form Complaints by March 31, 2017. Master Complaints detail all of the allegations that are common to Taxotere litigation, while Short Form Complaints detail how the allegations in the Master Complaint affect specific plaintiffs.
As of March 2017, court documents show that Sanofi-Aventis is facing more than 800 Taxotere-related lawsuits.
Are You Considering a Taxotere Lawsuit?
Are you suffering from permanent hair loss as a result of Taxotere chemotherapy treatment? If so, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries from the drug's manufacturer. Compensation may include related medical expenses (including medical-related travel costs), lost wages, and pain and suffering damages such as mental anguish, disfigurement, and more.
Are you considering filing a Taxotere lawsuit? We can help. McGartland Law has 30 years of experience handling personal injury lawsuits, including dangerous drugs cases just like yours. And, while every case is unique, McGartland Law's skilled legal team has the know-how necessary to help you navigate the complex legal system and help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation so we have the opportunity to discuss the details of your case and address any concerns you may have. We've helped hundreds of clients in your circumstances and are eager to show you what we can do.