As First Taxotere Lawsuit Trial Approaches, Plaintiffs Score Partial Win on Expert Testimony

Published on August 8, 2019 by Laurie Villanueva

A federal judge said a plaintiff’s expert may provide her opinion on the standard of care for informed consent when the first Taxotere lawsuit goes to trial next month in Louisiana.

Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss Warnings

Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy agent used to treat breast cancer, head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. While the medication has been available in the United States since 1996, Sanofi Aventis only updated the labeling to note permanent hair loss as a possible side effect in late December 2015.

The company warned European health care providers of this potential risk nearly a decade earlier, while the Canadian label underwent a similar modification in 2012.

Move than 11,300 Taxotere Lawsuits Pending in Federal Litigation

More than 11,300 Taxotere lawsuits are now pending in the federal multidistrict litigation currently underway in Louisiana, all of which accuse Sanofi Aventis of failing to warn doctors and patients in the United States that docetaxel is more likely to cause permanent hair loss than other equally effective chemotherapy agents.

The litigation’s first trial is scheduled to begin on September 16th. As a bellwether trial, the case could provide valuable insight into how other juries might decide similar Taxotere lawsuits.

Treating Physician Will Address Possible Response to a Hair Loss Warning

According to HarrisMartin.com, Dr. Bosserman is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and oncology, who “has worked with hundreds if not thousands of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.” In moving to prevent her from testifying on standard of care, the defendants argued that her opinion on how the standard applied to the facts of the case would not help the jury.

The Court granted part of the motion on August 5th, finding that because the plaintiff’s treating physician would be testifying, he could address his response to a warning for permanent hair loss, had one been made available.

But Dr. Bosserman is not barred from addressing the matter entirely.

“Dr. Bosserman, therefore, can testify about the guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and what they require, and she can testify about the standard of care for physicians for informing patients through the decision-making process; she cannot, however, testify about the application of these principles to Earnest’s case,” the Order states.

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