Hundreds of Taxotere hair loss claims continue to move forward in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, where the first bellwether trial will likely get underway ithis fall.
The Court had previously indicated it would convene six bellwether trials in order to test the strength of plaintiffs’ claims and garner insight into how other juries might decide similar Taxotere lawsuits.
While the first trial was scheduled to begin in May, the Court announced last month that it was pushing the trial date back to September 16, 2019. In preparation for that trial, an Order dated April 17th directs the parties counsel to submit or file:
The Court will issue its final pretrial order by August 23rd, while a final pretrial conference will be convened on August 30th.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved Taxotere (docetaxel) to treat breast cancer in 1996. Since then, the agency has approved the drug for head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
Sanofi-Aventis has listed permanent hair loss as a possible side effect on Taxotere’s European label since 2005, while the Canadian label underwent a similar update in 2012. Yet the company waited until December 2015 to add mention of permanent hair loss to Taxotere’s U.S. labelling.
In 2006, a Denver-based oncologist reported that 6.3% of his Taxotere patents had experienced permanent hair loss. Just four years later, Sanofi-funded study called GEICAM 9805 suggested that 9.2% of those treated with Taxotere experienced hair loss that lasted 10 years or longer
There are more than 12,000 Taxotere lawsuits are now pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Hundreds of additional cases have been filed New Jersey’s Middlesex County Superior Court.
Plaintiffs involved in this litigation claim Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn that Taxotere was more likely to cause permanent alopecia that other equally effective chemotherapy agents. They further assert that the permanent loss of their hair has negatively impacted their self-image, their relationships, and others’ perceptions of them, leading to social isolation and depression that continued long after their cancer fight ended.