The latest report from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) shows there are currently 4,132 cases pending as part of the Taxotere multidistrict litigation (MDL). The number of lawsuits has more than doubled since October, when Beasley Allen last reported on the MDL, which marked a year since it was established. The claims were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District for Louisiana before Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt.
Patients have filed suit against Taxotere’s manufacturer, French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis, alleging it failed to warn them that hair loss caused by Taxotere could be permanent. Although hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, there are treatments that allow the hair to regrow once the chemicals leave the body. For example, Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Taxol is two times less potent, a safer alternative to Taxotere, and does not carry the same risks of permanent hair loss.
Permanent hair loss is more than cosmetic. Many cancer patients see it as an unnecessary side effect that serves as a constant reminder of their struggle.
Beasley Allen previously reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Taxotere to treat breast cancer and other forms of cancer in 1996. While evidence shows the company knew about the potential side effect and warned patients outside of the U.S. beginning in 2005, it failed to caution U.S. consumers for a decade after issuing warnings in other countries. Finally, in 2015, Sanofi updated Taxotere’s label with a warning after the FDA demanded it do so.
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation