Taxotere lawsuit plaintiffs will now be able to file their hair loss cases directly in the federal litigation underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. According to an Order dated on December 9th, direct filing will eliminate delays associated with the transfer of complaints from other federal courts.
Court records indicate that at least 267 cases are already pending in the federal Taxotere litigation. All of the claims were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allegedly experienced permanent alopecia following treatment with the chemotherapy agent. While temporary hair loss is a normal side effect with any chemotherapy treatment, these plaintiffs claim that alopecia is more likely to be permanent with Taxotere.
Taxotere was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 to treat breast cancer. Its approved uses have since been expanded to include a number of other malignancies. Last December, the drug’s U.S. labeling was altered to note that cases of permanent hair loss have been reported among patients treated with the medication. However, Taxotere plaintiffs contend that Sanofi-Aventis was aware of this risk for years, and point out that the labeling in a number of other countries actually included information on permanent alopecia long before the U.S. prescribing information was modified.
“As a direct result of Defendants’ failure to warn patients of the risk of disfiguring permanent alopecia in the United States, thousands of women, including Plaintiff, as well as their health care providers, were deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether the benefits of using Taxotere over other comparable products was justified,” the complaints charge.
The federal Taxotere litigation was established in October in order to allow all federal hair loss claims to undergo coordinated pretrial proceedings, including motion practice and discovery. Multidistrict litigations are created in anticipation of a large number of cases involving the same or similar product and similar injuries. As such, centralization promotes judicial efficiency and preserves the resources of the court, parties and witnesses involved in the litigation.
Court records indicate that the proceeding will convene its next Status Conference on January 27, 2017. Liaison counsel will meet at 8:45 a.m. followed by a meeting of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee at 9:00 a.m. The general conference will commence at 10:00 a.m.