Federal multi-district litigation is about to get underway in the US District Court in New Orleans for recently consolidated product liability lawsuits alleging that Taxotere caused permanent hair loss.
US District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in the Eastern District of Louisiana issued Pretrial Order 1 on October 13, 2016, announcing that he will convene the Initial Case Management Conference on November 10. About 90 cases are pending in In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2740.
The order directs that the parties submit proposed discovery plans under Rule 26(f) that contain expert discovery deadlines, and a suggested schedule under Rule 16(b) for joinder of parties, amendment of pleadings, and consideration of class action allegations by November 2nd.
Applications and nominations for appointment to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee must be filed electronically in the master docket by October 24.
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Initially approved to treat breast cancer, Taxotere (docetaxel) has since been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in patients with head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Though Taxotere has been on the market for two decades, it was only in
Disfiguring hair loss
Though Taxotere has been on the market for two decades, it was only in December 2015 that the U.S. label was updated to note that chemotherapy patients who had treated with the medication reported suffering permanent alopecia.
Product liability actions are proliferating in federal courts across the country, charging that the Taxotere breast cancer drug causes unexpected, permanent and disfiguring hair loss in women. Although hair loss is a common temporary side effect of chemotherapy drugs, permanent alopecia is not.
The plaintiffs charge that defendants Sanofi S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A., and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. failed to update the warnings for Taxotere, failed to show the results of additional studies despite learning the facts about the risks of Taxotere, fraudulently concealed the fact that Taxotere caused permanent alopecia unlike other taxanes used for the treatment of breast cancer, and engaged in a fraudulent marketing scheme, which involved paying kickbacks and providing other unlawful incentives to entice physicians to use Taxotere,” the motion says.