Federal lawsuits filed on behalf of cancer patients who allegedly experienced permanent hair loss related to treatment with Taxotere are moving forward in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to a Case Management Order issued by the Court on March 9th, the parties have selected four individual Taxotere lawsuits to undergo Phase 2 Discovery in preparation for the proceeding’s first bellwether trial.
The four cases are entitled:
One of the four will be selected for trial once Phase 2 Discovery is complete.
The Taxotere litigation is scheduled to convene its first bellwether trial on September 24, 2018. The verdict in that case could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar Taxotere hair loss claims.
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug marketed by Sanofi-Aventis. It was initially approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 to treat breast cancer. However, its approved indications have since been expanded to include the treatment of head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
The first generic version of docetaxel was approved by the FDA in 2010.
Any chemotherapy agent can cause temporary alopecia (hair loss). However, mention of permanent alopecia as a possible side effect was added to Taxotere’s U.S. prescribing information in December 2015.
Nearly 7,000 Taxotere lawsuits are currently pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana, where all federally-filed hair loss claims involving the medication have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings. Plaintiffs involved in this litigation allege that Sanofi-Aventis was aware that Taxotere was more likely to cause permanent hair loss compared to equally-effective alternative cancer treatments and concealed this information from patients and doctors.
Among other things, Taxotere plaintiffs point out that the European medical community was informed of the potential for docetaxel-induced permanent hair loss in 2005, while the Canadian Taxotere label underwent a similar modification in 2012.
Taxotere lawsuits also cite several recently-published studies, including a Sanofi-funded study called GEICAM 9805 , which suggested that 9.2% of docetaxel patients experienced hair loss that lasted 10 years or longer. According to the complaints, a Denver-based oncologist reported in 2006 that 6.3% of his docetaxel patients had experienced permanent hair loss