Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug that’s most commonly prescribed for breast cancer. Like most chemo drugs, Taxotere causes temporary hair loss — a common side effect during treatment. But many cancer survivors now assert Taxotere hair loss is not temporary, but rather a permanent and persistent side effect. Taxotere lawsuit allegations say Sanofi deliberately withheld information from consumers to protect the company’s drug profit margins.
Taxotere Warning Updated More Than 10 Years After Winning FDA Approval
The FDA approved Taxotere for use in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat breast cancer in 2004. In 2010, The National Center for Biotechnology Information released a study on chemotherapy-induced alopecia; researchers believed Taxotere caused several cases. However, the Food and Drug Administration didn’t update Taxotere’s warning label to include increased permanent alopecia risks until December 2015. During those 11 years, hundreds (possibly even thousands) of cancer patients received Taxotere-based chemotherapy treatment that rendered them permanently bald.
Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss Lawsuit Timeline
March 10, 2016: First Permanent Hair Loss Lawsuit Filed Against Sanofi
Plaintiff Erma Spann filed the first Taxotere lawsuit against Sanofi. Spann allegedly experienced permanent hair loss after undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere in February 2005. Spann alleges Sanofi concealed information, preventing patients from objectively deciding whether taking Taxotere was worth the risks. Her claim also asserts that Sanofi utilized “wrongful conduct and illegal kickback schemes.” These policies allegedly exposed thousands of patients to Taxotere’s increased toxicity compared to its less potent taxane drug competitor, Taxol.
March 23, 2016: Ami Dodson Files Second Taxotere Lawsuit
California plaintiff Ami Dodson filed the second Taxotere permanent hair loss claim against Sanofi, making similar allegations as Spann. Dodson’s court filings claimed, “Defendants [preyed] on one of the most vulnerable groups of individuals at the most difficult time in their lives… Defendants obtained billions of dollars in increased revenues at the expense of unwary cancer victims simply hoping to survive their condition and return to a normal life.” However, Dodson’s claim goes one step further than Spann’s lawsuit allegations. She claims Sanofi specifically trained employees to misrepresent Taxotere’s safety and efficacy in addition to promoting it for off-label use.
August 16, 2016: JPML Approves Motion to Centralize Taxotere Claims Under MDL 2740
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation approved a motion to centralize 33 federal Taxotere lawsuits pending in 16 different districts. All consolidated Taxotere cases made similar allegations as Spann and Dodson’s lawsuit claims. This MDL 2740 is now centralized in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Because all Taxotere MDL allegations share common factual questions regarding Sanofi’s knowledge about the possibility of permanent hair loss, the centralization “will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.” All plaintiffs in these now-centralized actions claim Taxotere caused their permanent hair loss, rather than taking other, equally effective drugs. Taxol, for example, is another taxane-based chemotherapy drug (like Taxotere) that does not carry permanent persistent alopecia risks for patients.
December 14, 2016: Federal Judge Appoints Settlement Committees
Louisiana federal judge Kurt D. Engelhardt appoints plaintiff and defendant committees to engage in ongoing Taxotere multidistrict litigation settlement discussions.
May 2017: Pretrial Coordination Begins on MDL 2740
More than 1,000 Taxotere lawsuit claims consolidated under MDL 2740 start undergoing pretrial coordination in Louisiana.
June 2, 2017: Judge Orders Bellwether Trial Selection and Pretrial Discovery Dates
Presiding Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt orders pretrial discovery dates and bellwether trial selections for Taxotere MDL 2740.
What You Can Do About Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss
If you or a loved one experienced permanent hair loss after completing Taxotere chemotherapy, you may qualify for compensation. Since Sanofi failed to warn consumers about Taxotere permanent hair loss risks until December 2015, thousands of patients needlessly suffered this permanent and disfiguring side effect. To see if you may be entitled to a cash settlement for permanent hair loss, fill out your free case evaluation today. An experienced attorney will contact you with more information on how get the justice you deserve as well as financial compensation.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.