Taxotere Judge Sets Science Day

US District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt ordered the parties in Taxotere litigation in MDL 2740, where 949 cases are filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana, charging that the chemotherapy drug caused disfiguring, permanent and total hair loss among patients.

Defendants include Sanofi S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A., Sanofi US Services Inc. f/k/a Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc., and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC.

“Science Days” have become a tradition in mass tort litigation. In the last few years, there is a Science Day somewhere, in some courtroom, going on.  Trial judges have welcomed tutorials in the form of “Science Days,” to help them learn the methodologies and vocabularies of the scientific disciplines that are involved in the litigations before them.

Taxotere and Hair Loss

A total of 799 Taxotere lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs who experienced permanent hair loss following treatment with the chemotherapy agent. While Taxotere was first approved to treat breast cancer in 1996, it wasn’t until December 2015 that mention of permanent alopecia (hair loss) was included on the drug’s U.S. label. It is true that alopecia is a common side effect of chemotherapy. However, plaintiffs claim that Taxotere is more likely to result in the permanent loss of hair compared to

It is true that alopecia is a common side effect of chemotherapy. However, plaintiffs claim that Taxotere is more likely to result in the permanent loss of hair compared to other equally effective drugs. They also claim that Sanofi-Aventis has long provided information about the potential for permanent alopecia to each patient and regulatory agencies overseas. Yet Taxotere’s U.S. label only included a generic, vague, and insufficient warning that “hair generally grows back.”

Back in December 2016, when only 267 cases were filed in the MDL, Judge Engelhardt appointed plaintiff and defense settlement committees, calling on them to focus less on preparing for trial and more on resolving the case.

In other orders, the judge:

  • Scheduled a follow-up meeting with the settlement committees on May 12, 2017, after the conclusion of the general status conference scheduled for this date.
  • Approved an exemplar Short Form Complaint to use when filing new cases.

The plaintiffs’ Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel are:

  • Dawn M. Barrios of Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, New Orleans, LA.
  • Palmer Lambert of Gainsburgh Benjamin David Meunier & Warshauer, New Orleans, LA.

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