What is Taxotere?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy agent used in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate, stomach, and head and neck. This medication is part of a family of drugs commonly referred to as taxanes – chemical compounds produced by the plants of the genus Taxus (yew trees). Docetaxel, like similar antiblastic drugs, fights malignant cells by preventing their growth. This treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 and is developed, manufactured and distributed by Sanofi-Aventis and its related companies.
"...there is increased evidence that certain chemotherapy regimens can cause dose-dependent permanent alopecia."The American Journal of Dermatopathology
Docetaxel and Permanent Hair Loss
Although temporary hair loss may be a possible side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, complete and permanent alopecia is not. Hair should slowly regrow over the course of 6-12 months, but many patients treated with docetaxel found that their baldness was, indeed, irreversible.
A study carried out on 20 women who had breast cancer chemotherapy and had taken Taxotere, found that no regrowth of the scalp was noted. The research, conducted between 2007 and 2011, even involved tentative treatments including vitamins and ultraviolet A therapy that failed to help the hair grow back.
Another study, published in the 2011 American Journal of Dermatopathology concluded that “there is increased evidence that certain chemotherapy regimens can cause dose-dependent permanent alopecia”, including docetaxel.
Why should you file a litigation?
Lawsuits allege that the permanent hair loss many patients suffered as a result of being treated with Taxotere caused them to experience a “disfiguring condition,” mental anguish and economic damages.
The drug makers are accused of misleading the public and the medical community by concealing docetaxel’s known risks. Thousands of patients chose this chemotherapy agent among others without being warned that their hair could never grow back.
Lawyers argue that despite the assertions of the drug maker, Taxotere does not have superior efficacy to other Taxanes such as Taxol. Plaintiffs claim that the drug makers concealed from the FDA, from doctors, and from patients the existence of a study which concluded that paclitaxel was, in fact, more effective than docetaxel for certain types of cancer.
Additionally, the pharmaceutical companies are also accused of engaging in “a fraudulent marketing scheme, paying kickbacks, and providing other unlawful incentives to entice physicians to use” this unreasonably dangerous medication.
Additional Taxotere Side Effects
Taxotere Side Effects include:
- Extreme weakness
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Fever, chills, body aches
- Easy bruising
- Rapid heart rate
- Permanent hair loss (alopecia)
- Heart issues
- Nerve damage
- Alcohol intoxication
- Eye disorders
- Allergic reactions
Has There Been a Taxotere Recall?
As of December 2017, there has not been a Taxotere recall relating to alopecia or permanent hair loss.
In December 2015, the FDA updated this medication’s warning label to include this otherwise undisclosed risk. This alert came 10 years too late, however, as the European regulators warned patients about it back in 2005.
Back in 2014, the regulator acknowledged a potential danger of alcohol intoxication in patients treated with intravenous docetaxel, and revised the labels accordingly.
However, neither one of these alleged risks were deemed sufficient to issue a recall.
Is There a Taxotere Class Action?
There is no Taxotere class action pending as of December 2017. Currently, most attorneys are doubtful that a class action will be certified for patients who are adversely affected by the drug.
Instead, mostly agreed that consolidating cases into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) was a more efficient and effective way of handling claims arising from injuries caused by pharmaceutical products.
The Taxotere Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
To date, more than 2,300 lawsuits claim that the drug makers failed to disclose known side effects of this drug and that patients suffered damages as a result. Failure to warn of side effects of a drug can be a basis of drug company liability, regardless of whether the drug has been recalled.
To speed up the proceedings, all this cases that share common questions or facts have been consolidated for discovery and other pretrial proceedings.
When cases are consolidated in this way in federal court it is called multidistrict litigation (MDL), and on a state level it is known as a state court consolidated proceeding.
Taxotere cases have been centralized in the Eastern District of Louisiana in the MDL No. 2740, overseen by Honorable Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt.
Have There Been Taxotere Settlements?
Some cases settle early in the claims process, but it is not expected that there will be early Taxotere settlements.
After a certain period of time after an MDL is centralized, initial trials, also known as bellwether trials, take place. The purpose of these trials is for the parties to get an idea of the types of evidence and arguments that will be brought to the attention of the court. Bellwethers are also used to see how juries will respond to the evidence and arguments.
After a certain number of cases have been tried, the parties are in a better position to determine whether a case can be settled.
Current Status of the Legal Proceedings
- December 2016According to a pretrial order issued by the U.S. District Judge appointed to oversee hearings in Louisiana, direct filing of new cases into already established MDL has been granted to avoid delays, allowing for discovery and additional pretrial screenings.
- October 2016Over 30 cases are consolidated and centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Plaintiffs allege that Sanofi-Aventis voluntarily failed to adequately warn patients and doctors of the potential risks.
- September 2016A first hair loss lawsuit claims that Sanofi-Aventis knew or should have known that the chemotherapy treatment was associated with an increased risk of irreversible alopecia.
- December 2015The FDA updates the warning label to include the risk of permanent hair loss associated with the drug.
Have You Seen a Taxotere Hair Loss Commercial?
You may have seen a Taxotere hair loss lawsuit commercial on television and wondered which law firm you should call to pursue your claim in court. If you or a loved one have been affected by permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia, you might want to find a lawyer you can trust to sue the manufacturers. Don’t choose the first one you saw advertised on TV. We at Attorney Group will do more than just provide you with all the information you need to have a better understanding of your options.
We will hear all the details of your case and connect you with the most appropriate law firm that will address your specific needs.
How Filing a Lawsuit Can Help You
A competent attorney can help chemotherapy patients who took Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss receive a substantial financial compensation.
Drug makers have a duty to provide safe medications. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide proper warnings. If a manufacturer fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in the injury litigations that may result.
If you have been harmed by Taxotere, you may be eligible to recover money for:
Pain and Suffering
If a patient dies from complications after taking Taxotere, family members may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Conscious pain and suffering of a loved one prior to death
- Mental anguish from the loss of a family member
- Funeral expenses
For more information, contact us today. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at [email protected].
An experienced lawyer will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.