Taxotere is a medication designed to fight cancer. However, it has caused numerous serious side effects, and manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis has been subject to a number of lawsuits.
Why File a Taxotere Lawsuit?
Taxotere (docetaxel) is a cancer medication that disrupts the growth and development of cancer cells in the body and is used to treat a number of different types of cancer. Originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, Taxotere has since been approved to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, head/neck cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer. Taxotere is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, which claims it is the drug most commonly used to treat breast cancer. However, it can cause alopecia (permanent and irreversible hair loss) in breast cancer survivors.
While hair loss is common in cancer patients, hair usually regrows within six months. However, permanent hair loss (alopecia) is not common. Unfortunately, 2,400 breast cancer survivors who took Taxotere to treat breast cancer have suffered with this disfiguring condition. They have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis claiming:
- Taxotere causes alopecia
- Sanofi-Aventis didn’t properly test the drug before sale
- The drug’s marketing was misleading because it did not contain any indication or permanent hair loss or alopecia
- Sanofi-Aventis withheld the risks of alopecia from doctors and patients and misled patients that hair would regrow
- Sanofi-Aventis didn’t disclose all dangers and risks of taking Taxotere
- Sanofi-Aventis minimized the dangers of Taxotere
- Sanofi-Aventis failed to assess the safety of Taxotere
Plaintiffs are claiming damages for physical and emotional distress, financial loss, loss of work, and inability to work due to psychological damage.
Breast cancer patients who took Taxotere before December 2015, stopped taking it more than six months ago, and experienced alopecia may be able to file a lawsuit.
The Symptoms of Alopecia
While in most cases of patients who experience hair loss find it regrows within six months of completing treatment, Taxotere can also cause permanent and irreversible hair loss (known as alopecia) on all areas of the body including pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and head.
Taxotere has been approved to treat a number of different forms of cancer, and is the most commonly prescribed medication used in the treatment of breast cancer. However, the drug is also responsible for a number of serious side effects that can leave the impacted with significant medical, emotional, and professional injuries that may leave them eligible to file a Taxotere lawsuit.
Who Is Responsible for Taxotere Complications?
Sanofi-Aventis is the manufacturer of Taxotere. The lawsuits are listed against the companies full names: Sanofi S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC.
The rise in lawsuits led to multidistrict litigation (MDL) in October 2016. MDL involves consolidating cases with similar legal issues to one court, where a judge familiar with the technical details of the case can rule on the them. Thirty-three lawsuits from 16 districts were transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana, where Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt will preside over the MDL.
While there have been no settlements to date, Engelhardt, the judge overseeing the MDL, appointed settlement committees in December 2016.
Also in December 2016, three women filed a class-action suit. Class action lawsuits involve a group of injured people who file a single lawsuit against a defendant (in this case Sanofi-Aventis). Although these lawsuits vary depending upon the case, two standard characteristics include:
- The entire group experienced equal injuries
- The number of people affected is so large that it’s unrealistic to split them into individual lawsuits
A class action needs to be certified by a judge. In this case, the group of women requested certification in April 2017, but the request was denied by a judge in July 2017.
In August 2017, four bellwether trial dates were set for January 28, April 8, July 15, and November 4, 2019. A bellwether trial, also known as a test trial, assists both legal parties in determining the strength of their case. The result could impact how other cases within the MDL proceed.
In September 2017, the court denied Sanofi-Aventis’ motion to dismiss all counts.
By 2018, Sanofi-Aventis has faced over 2,400 lawsuits relating to Taxotere.
Getting an Attorney who knows Taxotere
As is the case with any lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, it can be very difficult to prove that Taxotere was responsible for specific side effects in a specific individual. Luckily, there are attorneys who specialize in Taxotere and related cases that have the experience necessary to overcome any challenges.
If you want to maximize the likelihood that your Taxotere lawsuit will succeed, you are strongly advised to hire an attorney who knows the ins and outs of this type of legislation.
Last Edited: March 19, 2018
- Potts, J. (2015). I survived cancer - but drugs left me with permanent alopecia. The Telegraph. September 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/healthadvice/11841436/I-survived-cancer-but-drugs-left-me-with-permanent-alopecia.html
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana. (2017). Order and Reasons. July 2017. http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/taxotere/Taxotere.MDL_.2740.Order_.and_.Reasons.Deny_.Class_.Certification.Ref_.16-17731.7-17-17_0.pdf
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana. MDL - 2740 Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation. Current Developments, Orders, Upcoming Events. http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/case-information/mdl-mass-class-action/taxotere