A recent Taxotere lawsuit brought by a Texas woman claims the chemo drug caused permanent, disfiguring hair loss. The complaint lists causes of action including failure to warn, defective design and other allegations raised by numerous plaintiffs who are now suing Sanofi-Aventis for severe and incapacitating emotional distress.
Claimants contend that the drug maker knew of permanent hair loss risks linked to Taxotere years before litigation was initiated. By late 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged a number of adverse event reports involving Taxotere-induced permanent alopecia in breast cancer chemotherapy patients. Taxotere litigation has continued to mount as cancer survivors who were treated with docetaxel realize the crippling psychological effects caused by lasting baldness.
Plaintiffs argue that Sanofi, through their deceptive marketing materials, have misled the public and the medical community that patients’ hair would regrow after treatment.
Who can file a Taxotere lawsuit?
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are under legal obligation to disclose all side effects and possible reactions on product labeling. Nearly all medications have some undesirable side effects, and temporary hair loss is an expected result of most chemotherapy treatments. However, there was no language on Taxotere labeling in the United States indicating a risk of permanent baldness.
Patients who experience serious Taxotere side effects after taking the medication may be able to sue the drug maker, sales representatives and prescribing doctors, by filing a product liability claim in state or federal court. Individuals who were given Taxotere as part of their breast cancer regimen and never regrew their hair may have a viable claim for damages.
In order to win such a case, claimants must prove that an injury was sustained, that the medication was defectively designed or manufactured, or improperly marketed without adequate warnings.
At present, Taxotere lawsuits alleging the side effect of permanent hair loss are bolstered by a number of studies that establish a causal connection between the chemo drug and alopecia.
Sanofi may be held liable in court rooms across the country if it is shown that the company:
- Manufactured a dangerous drug without proper pre-market testing
- Failed to disclose all side effects and risks
- Purposefully misled the public in marketing materials
- Concealed known hazards associated with the medication
Taxotere class action lawsuit
There are numerous avenues of legal recovery afforded to patients injured by defective drugs, who may choose to file an individual claim, or join a Taxotere class action lawsuit. A class action enables multiple plaintiffs to pursue litigation against a defendant on behalf of a group, or “class.” This class would share in any award monies or settlement recovery.
In situations where individual lawsuits against a common defendant reach significant numbers, they may be consolidated to reduce judicial burdens and promote efficiency. Taxotere lawsuits may be centralized before one federal judge in multidistrict litigation (MDL) – a procedure common in mass pharmaceutical litigation. This process allows both parties to share in pretrial motions, discovery and other matters that apply to all cases. However, unlike a class action, cases transferred into MDL are not bound together and retain their own identity. Plaintiffs share in pretrial processes and, usually, bellwether trials, but will have their own day in court.
A mass tort or multi-county litigation offers the same benefits of an MDL, but takes place in state rather than federal court. Both procedural devices are efficient ways of handling large volumes of complaints arising from pharmaceutical products.
Consolidated proceedings generally include bellwether trials – a select group of representative cases that are the first to go before a jury. The outcomes of these trials offer insight as to how juries will respond to other Taxotere claims, and may spur settlement negotiations.
In the event that Sanofi decides to settle cases, a number of factors will determine the actual settlement amount.
Monetary awards will factor in losses including:
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Past, present and future physical pain and emotional anguish
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
How to file a lawsuit if you suffered hair loss
Individuals that have experienced debilitating side effects — including permanent alopecia — after taking Taxotere may be entitled to compensation for their pain and psychological suffering. Every state has statutes that limit the amount of time a lawsuit can be filed after suffering a drug-related injury. In light of these strict deadlines, Taxotere patients are encouraged to speak with a qualified attorney who can evaluate their case without obligation or cost. Reputable law firms work on a contingency basis and have the financial resources and legal savvy to handle complex claims against Big Pharma. A good attorney who specializes in dangerous drug claims can initiate the filing, procure evidence, depose witnesses, negotiate settlement payouts and take the case to trial if necessary.
At present, a Taxotere class action has not been formed, but a handful of individual lawsuits have been filed in district courts throughout the nation. Taxotere hair loss cases are pending in California, Louisiana, Texas and other states. According to allegations, neither the plaintiffs nor their oncologists were made aware that Taxotere could result in permanent hair loss. The complaints also assert that Sanofi-Aventis encouraged physicians to use Taxotere despite known risks and the availability of safer chemotherapy treatments. Given the widespread use of docetaxel in breast cancer patients, Taxotere litigation is expected to escalate substantially in the coming months.
Taxotere alopecia lawsuit resources
- The Globe and Mail, Women who took chemo drug say they weren’t warned of permanent hair loss http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/women-who-took-chemo-drug-say-they-werent-warned-of-permanent-hair-loss/article572591/
- National Cancer Institute Docetaxel, http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/docetaxel
- Annals of Oncology, Permanent Scalp Alopecia Related to Breast Cancer Chemotherap by Sequential Fluorouracil/Epirubicin/Cyclophosphamide and docetaxel http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/05/09/annonc.mds095.full
- US National Library of Medicine, Permanent Alopecia after Systemic Chemotherapy: A Clinicopathological Study of 10 Cases, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21430504