Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuit Filed by Louisiana Woman
A Louisiana woman filed suit on June 17, alleging that her use of breast cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel) resulted in permanent alopecia, or a total failure of her hair to regrow following treatment with the medication.
According to the complaint, drug maker Sanofi-Aventis failed in its duty to warn patients that they may not experience hair regrowth after stopping Taxotere, all the while knowing that similarly effective treatments could be used that did not pose this particular danger.
Details of Taxotere lawsuit
The plaintiff in this case received a diagnosis of infiltrating ductal carcinoma in early 2010 and commenced chemotherapy with Taxotere in September of that year. She ultimately received four rounds of treatment with the drug, but at no point during that period was she informed that disfiguring hair loss of a permanent nature might occur as a result.
It is argued that the defendant did not fulfill its duty to disclose information regarding a connection between Taxotere and permanent hair loss, and provided patients and physicians with misleading information regarding the likelihood of hair regrowth. Sanofi is also accused of failing to label its U.S.-marketed products with the same hair loss warnings used in other countries where it had also been sold. This occurred, according to the plaintiff, despite the fact that new studies and information became available underscoring the potential risks, including those published in the Annals of Oncology and the American Journal of Dermatopathology and another which was presented at the National Cancer Conference in 2014.
Furthermore, the complaint asserts that the plaintiff would perhaps have accepted the possibility of permanent hair loss as a consequence of successful chemotherapy treatment if no alternative drug options had existed, but that medications with similar clinical benefit were indeed available at the time which did not pose a danger of permanent alopecia.
Plaintiff demands compensation
The plaintiff in this case is proceeding under several causes of action, including liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act, defective design, failure to warn, breach of express warranty and breach of warranty in redhibition. Consequently, she is seeking a damage award that includes return of the purchase price paid for Taxotere, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish and distress, attorney fees, costs and other losses.
Taxotere litigation gains momentum
In December of 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration publicly acknowledged a troubling volume of adverse event reports related to Taxotere and permanent alopecia in breast cancer chemotherapy patients. There has subsequently been an uptick in Taxotere lawsuits alleging that the use of the chemotherapy treatment has led to permanent, unexpected hair loss in such individuals.
If the pace of filings continues or accelerates, it may eventually be necessary for Taxotere cases to be consolidated into federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is designed to foster pretrial efficiency, consistency of rulings and global settlement discussions, whenever possible.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Taxotere (docetaxel) injection concentrate, http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/ucm212079.htm
- Sanofi-Aventis, Taxotere Prescribing Information, http://products.sanofi.us/Taxotere/taxotere.html
- National Cancer Institute, Docetaxel, http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/docetaxel