More than 12,000 individuals have filed lawsuits against Sanofi over claims that the pharmaceutical giant’s breast cancer drug, Taxotere, caused them to develop permanent hair loss.
Plaintiffs have alleged that had they known about the risk of permanent hair loss, they would have discussed other options with their doctor. The lawsuits also allege that Sanofi was aware that Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss as opposed to temporary hair loss that sometimes occurs with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
However, juries in the first two bellwether trials, or test cases, have cleared Sanofi of liability. The most recent verdict was returned Nov. 19, 2021 in a New Orleans federal court. In that decision, the jury found that Sanofi provided sufficient warning to a Louisiana woman, Elizabeth Kahn, Reuters reported.
Taxotere cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Chris Coffin, an attorney representing Kahn, told Reuters in an email, “While disappointed in the result, we are confident that the evidence against Sanofi will result in positive verdicts for plaintiffs around the country in the future.”
Coffin also indicated that the Kahn decision would be appealed. Kahn sued Sanofi in 2016. She started using Taxotere in 2008. Her complaint alleges that as a result of taking the drug for breast cancer, she has suffered from alopecia.
Sanofi is not the only defendant named in the MDL. Since Taxotere also goes by the generic version docetaxel, other manufacturers of the drug as well as distributors are facing litigation for their alleged connection to claims of alopecia.
The Kahn verdict comes more than two years after the first bellwether Taxotere trial ended in September 2019. In addition to the MDL, Sanofi is also facing Taxotere lawsuits in state courts, including California and New Jersey.
Taxotere lawsuits have been rescheduled numerous times due to a variety of factors, including the pandemic. There is no word yet on when the third test trial will begin.